Thanks to new astronomical observations, scientists have obtained valuable information about the sun’s average corona. It is usually difficult to observe. The study authors report that the data will improve the accuracy of space weather forecasts.
Using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) GOES-17 satellite, scientists at the Joint Institute for Environmental Science Research (CIRES) have captured the first ever images of the Sun’s middle corona.
The middle corona is the region of the Sun that is responsible for the movement of the solar wind and solar flares. They reach Earth, interfere with radio communications, damage electrical networks, and reduce the accuracy of navigation systems. New observations have revealed links between the inner corona, with its complex magnetic structure, and the outer corona, where the solar wind flows into the heliosphere, the huge space bubble that surrounds the sun. “We didn’t think these regions were connected, but now we know they are constantly interacting,” explains CIRES employee Dan Seaton, who is the lead author of the new science project.
The images the scientists worked with were taken by the Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI) on the GOES-17 spacecraft in 2018. The researchers combined existing data to create a large-scale composite image. It helps to understand the structure and nature of extreme ultraviolet phenomena in the Sun’s middle corona.
“New images of the middle corona will help improve space weather forecasting. We will be able to more effectively detect and track coronal mass emissions, which pose significant threats to the Earth’s infrastructure, ”the scientist concludes. In the future, researchers will continue to study the Sun’s average corona.