Scientists Shed Light on How Solar Flares Accelerate Particles to Nearly the Speed of Light

Watts Up With That?

Shedding light on particle acceleration in solar flares

From the NEW JERSEY INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY:

solar-flare-vla This image shows the speed of fast plasma outflows produced by the flare. The termination shock is shown as a transition layer where the colors change abruptly from red/yellow to blue/green. At bottom is the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array, which captured the termination shock in action using radio observations. CREDIT SDO/AIA data is from NASA. VLA image courtesy of NRAO/AUI. Image prepared by Chen, Jibben, and Samra.

For scientists studying the impacts of space weather, one of the central mysteries of solar flares – the colossal release of magnetic energy in the Sun’s atmosphere that erupts with the force of millions of hydrogen bombs – is the means by which these explosions produce radiation and accelerate particles to nearly the speed of light within seconds. The most powerful blasts dispatch energized particles that…

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