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A Milestone in Predicting Solar Flares

By Dave Reneke

A milestone in predicting solar flares, and the discovery of a global ocean on Saturn’s moon Enceladus.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Solar flares are massive explosions in the Sun’s atmosphere. A single “monster” solar flare could cause up to $2 trillion worth of damage on Earth, including the loss of satellites and electricity grids. It also poses potential dangers to human life and health.

However, a new technique published in Nature Physics ( will allow changes in the Sun’s magnetic fields, which drive the initiation of solar flares, to be monitored up to ten times faster than previous methods, allowing for greater advanced warning of potentially devastating space storms.

The research team members, who span universities in Europe, the Asia-Pacific and the USA, harnessed data from both NASA’s premier space-based telescope, the Solar Dynamics Observatory, and the ROSA (Rapid Oscillations in the Solar Atmosphere) multi-camera system at the National Solar Observatory in New Mexico.

“Our new techniques demonstrate a novel way of probing the Sun’s outermost magnetic fields, providing scientists worldwide with a new approach to examine, and ultimately understand, the precursors responsible for destructive space weather,” said Dr David Jess of Queen’s University Belfast.

Prof Damian Christian of California State University added that understanding the behaviour of our Sun’s magnetic fields provides us with crucial information surrounding the immense energy it...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.