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Swift
2010-Jan-20, 08:18 PM
Now a scientist at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center and her colleagues have found a technique for predicting solar flares two to three days in advance with unprecedented accuracy.

The long-sought clue to prediction lies in changes in twisting magnetic fields beneath the surface of the sun in the days leading up to a flare, according to the authors. The findings will be published in Astrophysical Journal Letters next month.

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Reinard and NOAA intern Justin Henthorn of Ohio University pored over detailed maps of more than 1,000 sunspot groups, called active regions. The maps were constructed from solar sound-wave data from the National Science Foundation’s Global Oscillation Network Group.

Reinard and Henthorn found the same pattern in region after region: magnetic twisting that tightened to the breaking point, burst into a large flare, and vanished. They established that the pattern could be used as a reliable tool for predicting a solar flare.

“These recurring motions of the magnetic field, playing out unseen beneath the solar surface, are the clue we’ve needed to know that a large flare is coming—and when,” said Reinard.

From this NOAA webpage (http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100119_solarflare.html).

Also on this Laboratoryequipment.com webpage (http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/News-new-technique-predicts-solar-flares-012010.aspx?xmlmenuid=51&wnnvz=1756,01281201377).