Experts Are Baffled by a Record-Breaking Plasma Explosion From a Sun-Like Star
By: April Carson
A superflare on the star EK Draconis, which is 111 light-years distant in the direction of the constellation Draco, was detected by astronomers monitoring it. A coronal mass ejection was also observed. This is the first time a Solar super eruption has been observed in a sun-like star, and it may indicate that the Sun used to have spectacular eruptions with a significant effect on planet formation in the distant past.
What is a coronal mass ejection?
Coronal mass ejections are a form of solar or stellar activity in which the outer layers of a star are split away, revealing an abundant amount of plasma and magnetic fields.
Solar storms are isolated events that occur on average every 11 years, though they can last for several days. They often follow solar flares and are accompanied by prominence -clumps of hot photosphere material rising above the surface of the Sun into the corona.
During a coronal mass ejection, a large amount of energy is released in a variety of forms. One of the associated effects is the appearance of huge-scale shock waves in the corona that can be seen at extreme ultraviolet wavelengths (wavelengths from 121 to 10 nanometers). These waves, which are magnetosonic in nature, were first detected by the SOHO satellite at the turn of the century.
Solar plasma bubbles that break away from the Sun can reach speeds of kilometers per second when interacting with the Earth and its magnetosphere, producing magnetic storms. Streams of charged particles can harm space equipment and, in the case of especially powerful events, cause problems with ground-based equipment.
The wave generated by the coronal mass ejection may also travel with the plasma throughout interplanetary space and aid in particle acceleration.
Astronomers observed the most powerful ejection to date
TESS and Japan's Seimei ground-based telescope observed the planet EK Draconis for 32 days in 2020, using NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). On April 5, scientists were fortunate: the star was visited by a superflare followed in about 30 minutes by a coronal mass ejection that traveled 500 kilometers per second and had a mass 10 times greater than the most powerful eruption ever observed on the sun.
According to the scientists, solar storms have been linked to major changes in Earth's climate. In fact, a study published last year found that sunspots and other magnetic features on the surface of the sun produce bursts of neutrinos every minute. According to this new research, these solar emissions are nothing out of the ordinary. Yuta Notsu, who led the study, said that "the sun is in a normal condition."
If these neutrinos are capable of altering Earth's climate in huge ways than it strengthens what scientists have believed for years: our universe thrives on waves of energy. Whether they come from black holes or supernovas or even our own radiant star, these waves are constantly bombarding our planet, and it's only a matter of time until we unlock their secrets.
However, theoretically, such superflares on our star can occur at any time, but they are extremely rare, perhaps once every several thousand years.
On the other hand, could a superflare on the Sun produce the same massive coronal mass ejection? We don't know whether our star is capable of such horrible severity.
It's possible that huge coronal mass ejections were common during the early years of the solar system, according to Notsu. They may even have had an impact on shaping Earth and Mars' present forms, in principle.
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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