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

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Shedding light on particle acceleration in solar flares


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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