View Full Version : New technique for predicting solar flares

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.


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).