NASA may have Captured Full Lifecycle of Sun’s Nanoflare

NASA Observe Nanoflare

Data captured in a new study published by the researcher outlines that they may have been successful in the first complete observation of a solar nanoflare. Right from the first bright origins of putative nanoflare may have been captured by the scientists for the first time and in-fact the full life cycle i.e. till its demise.  A nanoflare is about one-billionth of the size of a normal solar flare and is a tiny eruption on the Sun’s surface.

Researchers think that nanoflares are responsible for heating the solar corona to its incredibly high temperature that is why they have been trying to dig out more details about this. This is the first time possible to capture the full life cycle of a nanoflare but the researchers have speculated that they existed back in 1972 to find out the mystery of coronal heating.

Corona – Reason behind its High Temp?

The main reason for concern among scientists was that how the Sun’s outer atmosphere which is known as corona was at so high temperature despite being so far away from the solar core. And to be clear, the layers beneath the corona are less hot than the corona itself. The challenging part for this to understand and answer the queries was that nanoflare was not observed by anyone before.

NASA observe Nanoflare of Sun

This was difficult because nanoflare was quite small and very transient to be observed by the telescopes and it was very recent that the telescopes have become this powerful for observation. The similarity between a nanoflare and a regular solar flare is that they are created by magnetic reconnection. Explosive realignment of magnetic field lines is the ones responsible for triggering magnetic reconnection which allows instantly heating cool plasma to a super-hot temperature.

Magnetic Reconnection

Scientists were able to spot magnetic reconnection by looking for instant heat amid far cooler surroundings. And just to confirm that the nanoflare was the one been observed, the object also had to heat the corona. The researchers involved in the study used the images taken by the NASA Interference Region Imaging Spectrograph satellite known as IRIS. 

It was observed that very small and bright loops were millions of degrees hotter than their surroundings that were about 60 miles across. So further going deep into the study, researchers noted that the only factor that can produce such heat was magnetic reconnection. Now the next step the researchers are focusing on is that they will now observe whether the objects are widespread over the sun that results in corona’s external heat.

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