October 22, 2021

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‘Missing link’ explosion on the sun could unravel longstanding solar mysteries

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A new study of a “missing link” solar eruption hopes to figure out the mechanism that causes all solar eruptions. This simulations shows the evolution of a stealth CME. (Image credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/ARMS/Joy Ng, producer)

An incredible explosion on the sun is helping scientists uncover new information about what causes powerful solar eruptions and how we might be able to better predict them in the future. 

Back in March of 2016, scientists used NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and theSolar and Heliospheric Observatory, a joint mission of NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) to observe a dramatic explosion on the sun. The event showed characteristics of three different types of solar eruptions that usually happen separately but, uniquely, occurred together this time, according to a statement from NASA.  Because it included many different types of events at once, scientists investigating the explosion in a new study think this strange phenomenon could reveal what causes all types of solar eruptions.

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