British and American scientists have for the first time identified the source of dangerous high-energy solar particles, which are formed during coronal emissions in the Sun. As writes edition Science Advances, the discovery was made thanks to data collected by the spacecraft NASA Wind.
The Wind probe operates in the region of space between the Earth and the Sun, and is designed to study particles associated with the solar wind phenomenon. In 2014, the spacecraft detected powerful streams of high-energy particles and transmitted the accumulated data from its observations to Earth.
Scientists compared Wind’s data with information obtained by the Hinode spacecraft (a Japanese solar physics satellite) and found that the particle streams from the Sun are related to hot coronal emission loops. Such loops are found, for example, in the active region of the Sun known as 11944. From Earth, this region looks like a dark spot on the surface of the star.
“For the first time, we were able to figure out exactly where the solar high-energy particles are coming from. Our findings confirmed the hypothesis that their source is plasma trapped in the solar atmosphere by intense magnetic fields,” says Dr. Stephanie Yardley of the Mallard Space Research Laboratory.