June 29, 2022

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Sola

Satellite takes great pictures of the sun with Norwegian help – NRK Trøndelag

Our star is only eight minutes away – eight minutes at the speed of light, mind you. The sun is the basis of all life on our planet, but it can also cause problems.

Giant solar eruptions send gas and particles out into space, sometimes in our direction. It can provide everything from blackouts to broken satellites. In addition, it could cause problems for astronauts on their way to Mars or the Moon.

When you see her, it’s too late to do anything about it. This is said Professor Mats Karlsson of the Rosland Center for Heliophysics (ROCS) at the University of Oslo.

Single Explosion: Such eruptions can send magnetic gas clouds toward Earth.

Photo: NASA

prestigious mission

Now he and his colleagues have been tasked with the research by NASA. The goal is to better understand our star, and hopefully to become better at predicting eruptions and storms.

To understand other stars, it is important to look at the Sun. This is where we see the details, says Carlson.

Now they will be involved in building MUSE (Multi-Slit Solar Explorer) a satellite that takes much better images, particularly of the outer part called the corona, Carlson says.

In the interior of the sun, the temperature is 15 million degrees. It gradually gets colder towards the surface, which has a temperature of about 6000 degrees. Then it gets warmer again. The magnetic field around it is a million degrees.

Collage from SOHO, Solar Dynamics Observatory and La Sill
Photo: ESO/P. Horalik/SOHO (NASA and ESA)/

Although conditions in the outer part were discovered as early as the 1930s, little is known yet about the physical processes that occur there.

– It’s almost a little embarrassing. We know that surrounding gas is very thin and doesn’t require much energy to heat it up to a million degrees. The motion we see is the energy that is brought out by magnetic fields, but in what way we don’t know.

However it will take some time. The MUSE satellite won’t be in space until 2027.

Better pictures than ever

The images that the MUSE satellite will take are the kind that solar scientists call spectra. It allows them to measure velocities on gas. may reveal what is happening.

Mats Carlson

You want to understand Sula Corona: Professor Mats Karlsson of UiO thinks it’s almost embarrassing not to know much about what’s going on in the Sun’s atmosphere, nearly 100 years after it was discovered.

Photo: UiO

– We’ll get pictures of how the gas moves. It is especially interesting to see what happens in solar flares.

Space weather warning is also constantly improving, and with better knowledge, this may be possible with 24-hour warning. This is important, because with such solar flares, the consequences can be dire, says Carlson.

– Satellites such as GPS can be destroyed. The only way to protect your satellite from this is to turn it off. Then we should be able to predict when this will happen.

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