A region of particle acceleration up to colossal energies found in the structure of a solar flare

(ORDO NEWS) — Solar flares are among the most powerful explosions in our solar system, but despite their colossal energy – each such flare is equivalent to the simultaneous explosion of hundreds of billions of atomic bombs – physicists still do not fully understand the mechanism by which high-energy particles that travel over 140 million kilometers in less than one hour.

Now, in a new study, scientists from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, USA, have been able to pinpoint the exact location of the region of space in which solar particles are accelerating to speeds close to the speed of light.

These new findings, from a 2017 class X flare survey by the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Expanded Owens Valley Solar Array (EOVSA) radio telescope, revealed the presence of a highly efficient particle accelerator located at the flare’s brightest point in the outer atmosphere. Sun, where the plasma generated during the flare is converted into high-energy electrons.

The researchers note that the discovery of this unique region of particle acceleration, which is approximately twice the volume of the Earth, may open up new opportunities for studying the fundamental processes of particle acceleration that are widespread throughout the universe.

“These results help to understand how solar flares release so much energy in just a few seconds,” said Gregory Fleishman, corresponding author and Distinguished Professor of Physics at the Center for Earth and Solar Studies.

New Jersey Institute of Technology. “Energy is released during a flare over a much larger area than is assumed by classical solar flare models.

Although there have been previous suggestions that this area should occupy a significantly larger volume, but only now for the first time we have established the specific size, shape and location of this key zone of a solar flare, as well as the efficiency of energy conversion within its boundaries.


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