Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Investigating unusual three-ribbon solar flares with extreme high resolution

04.06.2014

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.

Contact:

Haimin Wang
Haimin.wang@njit.edu, (973) 596-5781
Home page: http://solar.njit.edu/~haimin

About NJIT

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!

Further reports about: BBSO H-alpha NASA NJIT Physics activity flares solar cycle surge-like flows

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold
26.06.2017 | Toyohashi University of Technology

nachricht A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL
23.06.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>