A monstrous cloud of plasma explods from a distant star

A monstrous cloud of plasma explods from a distant star

According to new research, a young version of the Sun recently released a magnetic plasma gas eruption 10 times greater than ever seen in a star similar to the Sun.

The star, EK Draconis, is only about 100 million years old, which is like the Earth's Sun about 4.5 billion years ago, said the research manager, Utah Notsu, a scientist at the University of Colorado Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics in Boulder.

However, the understanding of the upper limits of CMS is important because these energetic magnetic eruptions interact with the Earth ' s atmosphere, potentially causing geomagnetic storms that can disrupt satellites, cut off electricity, disrupt the Internet and other communications. CMS also pose a potential hazard for crew flights to the Moon or Mars: these solar storms send high-energy particles that can cause radiation to a person outside the Earth ' s protective magnetic shield that, according to NASA, amounts to 300,000 X-rays of the chest at the same time. This is a lethal dose.

Notsa and his colleagues reported in 2019 that stars like the Sun were capable of producing large bursts of electromagnetic radiation, called super-flashes, and researchers found that young sun-like stars emit super-flashes weekly, while older stars, such as the Earth's Sun, produce them less frequently.

Superflashes like that.

With the help of NASA Transiting Extranet Survey Satellite and the Kyoto University SEIMEI telescope, researchers punctured 111 light-years of space to observe the star between January and April 2020. On 5 April, they received what they were looking for: a shift in the spectrum of light emitted by a star indicating a clot of plasma moving towards Earth.

The eruption was at a speed of about 1.6 million km/h and had a mass of more than 1 quadrillion kilograms, 10 times the mass of any observed solar flare.

"," said Nots.

It would be easy to miss a superflash that happens every thousand years; the first direct observation of the solar flare took place in 1859, that is, people have less than 200 years of direct recording of the activity of the solar surface and atmosphere. Before the emergence of electronics, solar flares and geomagnetic storms were not very visible on the surface of the Earth.

New research suggests that in the long past, the Sun launched several flashes. Tree rings around the world recorded a surge in the radioactive form of carbon, carbon-14, in 774 and 775.A 2012 study showed that the cause of the surge was a sudden and rapid flash on the Sun. . In 2013, researchers found the same types of tips in ice cores, reported researchers in Astronomy & Astrophysics. A 2019 study found signs of the same major event in 2610 B.C.E. Another outbreak could have occurred in 993 and 994, a 2013 study published in Nature Communications.

According to Notsou, the new EK Draconis observations covered only the first phase of the CMS, and researchers are still not sure how many super-flashes end with the CMS and how many stop without a plasma explosion, and he says that more observations using different tools can give a more complete picture.

The study of sun-like stars during their youth is important not only for planning a possible disaster associated with the release of the coronal mass, but also a window into the past of our solar system. For example, scientists believe that Mars may have once had a dense atmosphere similar to the Earth. According to one hypothesis, when Mars lost its magnetic field, high-energy particles from the Sun began to destroy that atmosphere, ultimately leaving the planet barren and unprotected. However, this is a controversial option, because little is known about the interaction between the Sun and the planets in the early solar system.

The results of the study were published in a magazine on 9 December.