José Manuel NievesSEGUIR Updated: Save Send news by mail electrónicoTu name *

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The Sun gave us life and the Sun away . Though there are not surprises, that will be within about 5,000 million years ago, when our star will exhaust the hydrogen that fuels the nuclear furnace of fusion and shrink and then swell like a balloon, until they reach a size dozens of times greater than at present. By then, our Sun will no longer be yellow, but a vivid orange color. It will have become a red giant and its perimeter will reach the planet Venus.

however, and although that will be the end of our world, the Sun has a less dramatic damage totally or partially the life on Earth. And one of them is the violent solar flares , explosions on their surface, which can be sent to us huge bursts of radiation. Luckily, we have a powerful system of defence: the earth’s magnetic field, which is generated in the core of the Earth and which deflects, as a shield, the greater part of those perligrosos attacks sun, protecting life on the planet.

Even so, if the solar flare is strong enough, one part of it can pass through the shield and affect our electronic systems, from satellites to communications systems, computers and electrical networks. Which, in a society that is increasingly dependent on technology, it would be an unprecedented catastrophe. Not in vain, more and more countries incorporate solar flares to their lists of natural disasters and develop manuals and protocols to apply in case of need.

solar Flares, a scientific mystery

despite the efforts of the last few decades, scientists are not yet sure exactly what it is that triggers solar flares, and it makes it very difficult to predict when they will occur. By now, in fact, the only thing we can do is stay tuned . We see only one eruption once it has started and that, in a case that points towards the Earth, only if you leave us a few hours of time to disable the satellites or shut down the power plants until the wave of radiation has passed.

Some theories suggest that these massive explosions can be caused by small disturbances in the magnetic field of the Sun. And, based on that idea, a team of japanese researchers has developed a method that is able to predict solar flares before they happen. Something that could greatly improve today uncertain forecasts of space weather and improve both our safety and that of our technology. The work has just been published in “Science”.

When do occur the rash?

solar flares, therefore, are intimately connected with the magnetic field of the Sun. And if the magnetic field lines of the Earth are straight and static, from the North Pole to the South Pole, the surface of the Sun is a chaotic and fiery ocean of ions and particles driven crazy by the high temperatures, which causes its lines to twist in loops and are, in general, much more complex.

According to some models, solar flares occur when many of these magnetic field lines merge to form larger loops. And that you can start with a single, solitary particle cosmic hitting the solar surface at the time and place appropriate. The new prediction method uses satellite images to find places where all of the conditions for something like this to happen, areas “ripe” for that to occur these reconnections magnetic and, therefore, the solar flares. The study of these areas, in addition, could allow to know how big it can get to be a rash.

“In some points of a mountain -explains Kanya Kusano, Nagoya University, and lead author of the study – a small crack can trigger an avalanche. But in other places, only a large crack will be able to do the same. We implement our theory to calculate how many reconnections magnetic , in a certain position, are necessary to activate a solar flare “.

Kusano and his team analyzed collections of data obtained from satellites of the nine solar flares larger between 2008 and 2019 and found that your method was able to predict seven of these eruptions only from the images of the satellites. In most cases, the new system was able to correctly identify which regions of the surface of the Sun would produce large eruptions in the next 20 hours. Although there were some false positives and false negatives, the study has aroused a huge interest and may, in the case of a great eruption, give us enough time to take the necessary measures.

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