facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

New camera yields clues to dramatic events on sun's surface

July 1, 2013 at 6:43 PM   |   Comments

PRESTON, England, July 1 (UPI) -- British scientists say an innovative new camera on board a sounding rocket has captured the sharpest images yet of the sun's outer atmosphere.

Researchers at the University of Central Lancashire, working with U.S. and Russian colleagues, report the NASA High Resolution Coronal Imager they helped develop discovered fast-moving "highways" and intriguing "sparkles" that may help answer long-standing questions about coronal mass ejections that carry billions of tons of plasma into space.

If an ejection hits the Earth, it can disturb the terrestrial magnetic field in a "space weather" event that can damage satellite electronics and even overloading power grids on the ground.

The discovery and nature of the solar highways captured in the NASA instrument, dubbed Hi-C, may allow scientists to better understand the driving force for these eruptions and help predict with greater accuracy when ejections might take place, the researchers said.

"The camera is effectively a microscope that lets us view small scale events on the sun in unprecedented detail," Robert Walsh, director of research at the Lancashire university, said. "For the first time we can unpick the detailed nature of the solar corona, helping us to predict when outbursts from this region might head towards the Earth."

Walsh presented the study results Monday at the Royal Astronomical Society National Astronomy Meeting in St. Andrews, Scotland.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police
2
Next-generation space suits will be like second skin Next-generation space suits will be like second skin
3
Report: Facebook Messenger app is loaded with spyware Report: Facebook Messenger app is loaded with spyware
4
Ship sunk off coast of Texas to create artificial reef Ship sunk off coast of Texas to create artificial reef
5
2014 summer was hottest on record, NOAA says 2014 summer was hottest on record, NOAA says
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback