Scientists have identified the origin of solar particle flows

The sun is sometimes faced with events known as a solar flare, solar storm, or solar prominence. These events can lead to the release of particles known as coronal mass ejection.

Do you know what coronal mass ejection is? It is a plasma bubble created in the corona of a star, the solar corona, and is often related to a solar flare or the appearance of a solar prominence. Especially when our solar star is confronted with a solar flare or a solar storm, it emits particles that can prove dangerous for life on earth.

These streams of particles are dangerous for life on earth

In fact, in January 2014, NASA’s wind satellite measured the flow of energetic particles emitted by the sun for at least one day. These particles came from a region of the sun that often erupted and formed coronal mass ejections. This region was visible from Earth as a sunspot.

The source of these particle streams lies in the chromosphere

Recently, scientists from University College London in the UK and George Mason University in the US announced that they had found the exact location of the origin of these particles. The source would, in fact, be the heart of the plasma, which is in the sun’s chromosphere, which is the part of its atmosphere that is between the photosphere and the solar corona.

The source of these particle flows lies in the chromosphere. Photo credit: Shutterstock / sdecoret

To arrive at this conclusion, the scientists analyzed the data collected by NASA’s wind satellite and crossed it with spectroscopic data collected by the Hinode satellite, a satellite dedicated to observing the sun. Their observations showed that the particles had the same chemical signature as the plasma trapped near the tip of the sun’s chromosphere.

Scientists plan to corroborate their observations during the new solar cycle

According to the explanations of the scientists, this plasma would be held in the solar atmosphere by strong magnetic fields and the energetic particles would escape through solar flares and the ejection of coronal matter. Apparently, these ejections would occur an average of 100 times during an 11 year solar cycle, and if they did, these ejections could reach Earth in even hours and sometimes minutes.

Even so, the experts hope to deepen their work thanks to ESA’s Solar Orbiter and NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, which will allow them to gather information about the new solar cycle that is about to begin.