The 1.6 meter telescope at Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) in California has given researchers unparalleled capability for investigating phenomena such as solar flares. Operated by New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), the BBSO instrument is the most powerful ground-based telescope dedicated to studying the star closest to Earth.
On June 2, Distinguished Professor of Physics Haimin Wang joined NJIT colleagues at the 224th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), held in Boston, Massachusetts, to present intriguing data about solar flares — specifically, two successive three-ribbon solar flares observed on July 6, 2012.
The events were recorded by Wenda Cao, associate professor of Physics at NJIT, BBSO associate director, and a co-author of the paper presented. Flares with two ribbons are typical of these immensely powerful eruptions that can send storms of charged particles and high-energy radiation toward Earth at nearly the speed of light.
The research Wang described at the AAS meeting integrated data acquired with the BBSO telescope at the hydrogen H-alpha spectral line and Calcium II H images captured with instrumentation aboard NASA's Hinode satellite. The flaring site observed was characterized by an unusual "fish-bone-like" morphology evidenced by both H-alpha images and a nonlinear force-free field (NLFFF) extrapolation, where two semi-parallel rows of low-lying, sheared loops connected an elongated, parasitic negative field with sandwiching positive fields.
The NLFFF model also showed the two rows of loops to be asymmetric in height with opposite twists, and to be enveloped by large-scale field lines, including open fields. The two flares occurred in succession within half an hour and were located at the two ends of the flaring region. The three ribbons of each flare were parallel to the magnetic polarity inversion line, with the outer two lying in the positive field and the central one in the negative field.
Both flares showed surge-like flows in the H-alpha images presented by Wang, apparently toward the remote region. One of the flares also was accompanied by jets of extreme ultraviolet radiation, possibly along the open field lines. Interestingly, the 12-25 keV hard X-ray sources of the flare first lined up with the central ribbon and then shifted to concentrate on top of the higher branch of loops. The results Wang discussed also suggest that the phenomenon of magnetic reconnection along the coronal null line is involved in producing the three flare ribbons and associated coronal mass ejections.
At NJIT, Wang also is director of the university's Space Weather Research Laboratory, based on campus in Newark, New Jersey. Under Wang's direction, the laboratory uses data from BBSO, the NJIT radio observatory in Owens Valley, California, NASA spacecraft and observatories in other countries to provide information about prevailing solar weather and what's ahead in the near future.
Operating the Global High Resolution H-alpha Network, Wang and his laboratory colleagues monitor solar activity and report space weather 24/7. In addition, they are working to further fundamental understanding of solar activity and geomagnetic effects. Better forecasting of solar events is a chief objective.
Beyond NJIT, Wang is leading a research team under NASA's Living With a Star program focused on gaining new knowledge about solar flares, the source of space weather. Another project on Wang's agenda "looks back to the future." It involves converting images from Big Bear and other observatories archived only as photographs into more accessible digital formats. This will give all researchers investigating the solar cycle and flare activity access to high-quality data extending over a century.
Funding for the research Wang presented on June 2 at the AAS meeting has been provided mainly by NASA through the Living With a Star program and partially by NSF.
The results of this investigation submitted to The Astrophysical Journal Letters are available at http://iopscience.iop.org/2041-8205/781/1/L23.
For more information, including images and video, visit http://bbso.njit.edu.
Visit the NJIT Space Weather Research Laboratory at http://swrl.njit.edu.
NJIT, New Jersey's science and technology university, enrolls 10,000 students pursuing bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in 120 programs. The university consists of six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, College of Architecture and Design, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, College of Computing Sciences and Albert Dorman Honors College. U.S. News & World Report's 2011 Annual Guide to America's Best Colleges ranked NJIT in the top tier of national research universities. NJIT is internationally recognized for being at the edge in knowledge in architecture, applied mathematics, wireless communications and networking, solar physics, advanced engineered particulate materials, nanotechnology, neural engineering and e-learning. Many courses and certificate programs, as well as graduate degrees, are available online through the Division of Continuing Professional Education.
Tanya Klein | Eurek Alert!
Scientists discover particles similar to Majorana fermions
25.10.2016 | Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters
Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves
24.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Struktur und Dynamik der Materie
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
25.10.2016 | Life Sciences
25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences