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In what direction does the solar wind blow?

(Top panel, left to right) July 12, 2012 Coronal mass ejections found on the STEREO B Cor2, SOHO C2, and STEREO A Cor2 coronagraphs, respectively. (Bottom panel) The same image as the result of the model overlaps. Credits: Talwinder Singh, Mehmet S. Yalim, Nikolai V. Pogorelov, Nat Gopalswamy

The surface of the sun rotates with energy and frequently emits a mass of highly magnetized plasma toward the earth. These eruptions can break through and collide with the magnetosphere, the natural magnetic shield that protects the Earth, damaging satellites and power grids. Such space weather events can be catastrophic.


Astronomers have been studying the activity of the Sun for centuries. Today, computers are at the heart of our quest to understand the behavior of the Sun and the role of the Sun. space Meteorological event.

The bipartisan PROSWIFT Act, passed in October 2020, was passed in October 2020, officially stating the need to develop better space weather forecasting tools. I will.

“Space weather needs real-time products so that we can predict the impact not only after the event, but also before the event.” For decades. “This theme related to the National Space Program, the environment and other issues has recently been escalated to a higher level.”

Space weather may seem like a distant concern to many, but it’s too late to know that something we knew happened and was devastating, like a pandemic. You may not be aware of the danger until

“We don’t think about it, but telecommunications, GPS, and everyday gadgets can be affected by extreme space weather,” Pogorelov said.

In addition, the United States is planning missions to other planets and the moon. Very accurate predictions of space weather are needed to warn spacecraft designs and astronauts of extreme events.

In what direction does the solar wind blow?

Coronal mass ejections by magnetic field lines in equatorial slices colored by plasma temperature. Credits: From space weather in April 2020 with the permission of the American Geophysical Union.

Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA, Pogorelov leads a team working on cutting-edge improvements in space weather forecasts.

“This study, which combines complex science, advanced computing, and exciting observations, gives us a better understanding of how the sun drives space weather and its impact on the Earth,” said the Department of Atmospheric and Geospace Science. Mangara Sharma, director of the Space Weather Program at Earth, said. NSF. “This study helps scientists make predictions. Space weather event And build the resilience of our country against these potential natural disasters. “

The multi-institutional effort involves the Goddard Space Flight Center and the Marshall Space Flight Center, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, two private sectors, Predictive Science Inc. and Space Systems Research Corporation.

Pogorelov uses the world’s ninth fastest Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) Frontera supercomputer and the high-performance systems of NASA and San Diego Supercomputer Centers to improve the models and methods at the heart of space weather forecasts. doing. ..

Eddy plays an important role in the dynamics of solar winds and coronal mass ejections. This complex phenomenon has many aspects, including the impact turbulence interaction and the role of ion acceleration.

“Solar plasma Thermal equilibriumThis creates an interesting feature, “says Pogorelov.

writing Astrophysical Journal In April 2021, Pogorelov, along with Michael Gedalin (Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel) and Vadim Roytershteyn (Institute of Space and Astronautical Science), explained the role of backflow of picked-up ions in the acceleration of charged particles in space. Interstellar or locally-origin regurgitation ions are picked up by the magnetized solar wind plasma and travel radially outward from the Sun.

In what direction does the solar wind blow?

The line composition of coronal mass ejections inserted at the internal boundary R = 0.1 AU is shown by a red sphere.Credits: Talwinder Singh, Tae K. Kim, Nikolai V. Pogorelov, Charles N. Arge, with permission of the American Geophysical Union

“Some non-thermal particles can be further accelerated to form. Solar energy particles This is especially important for Earth’s space weather and people in space, “he said.

Pogorelov simulated at Frontera to better understand this phenomenon, explore the outside of the heliosphere, and now provide unique data from local interstellar medium, Voyager 1 and Voyager. Compared with the observation of No. 2.

One of the main focal points of space weather forecasts is to correctly predict the arrival of coronal mass ejections (plasmas from solar coronas and the associated magnetic field ejections) and to determine the direction of the magnetic field they carry. Pogorelov’s team’s study of reflux ions Astrophysical Journal In 2020, we used a magnetohydrodynamic model based on flux ropes to predict the arrival time and magnetic field composition of coronal mass ejections on July 12, 2012. (Magnetohydrodynamics refers to the magnetic properties and behavior of conductive fluids such as plasma and plays an important role in the dynamics of space weather).

“Fifteen years ago, we didn’t know much about the nature of the interstellar medium and the solar wind,” Pogorelov said. “There are so many observations available today that you can validate your code and make it much more reliable.”

Pogorelov is a collaborator on the onboard component of the Parker Solar Probe called Swep (solar wind electron, proton, and alpha instrument). In each orbit, the spacecraft approaches the Sun and provides new information about the characteristics of the solar wind.

“The solar wind will soon penetrate beyond the critical region of ultra-fast magnetic sound velocity, providing unprecedented information on the physics of solar wind acceleration and transport,” he said.

With the availability of spacecraft and other new observation tools, Pogorelov expects a wealth of new data that can inform and drive the development of new space-related models. weather Forecast. Therefore, in parallel with basic research, Pogorelov is developing a software framework that is flexible, can be used by various research groups around the world, and can integrate new observation data.

“Undoubtedly, in the next few years, the quality of data from the photosphere and the solar corona will improve dramatically, both as new data available and as new and more sophisticated ways to process the data. Thanks, “he said. “We are building software to make it easier for users to integrate better boundary conditions from new scientific missions.”


Supercomputer simulation unleashes old space weather puzzles


For more information:
Michael Gedalin et al, Backstreaming Pickup Ions, Astrophysical Journal (2021). DOI: 10.3847 / 1538-4357 / abe62c

Quote: In what direction does the solar wind blow? (June 3, 2021) Obtained from https://phys.org/news/2021-06-solar.html on June 3, 2021

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In what direction does the solar wind blow?

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