From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Sun's Corona
Mains level : Space Weather
Solar physicists from Centre for Excellence in Space Sciences (CESSI), IISER Kolkata, have succeeded in predicting the shape of Sun’s corona at the time of the recent annular eclipse.
What is Corona?
- The corona is the outermost part of the Sun’s atmosphere. It is the aura of plasma that surrounds the Sun and other stars.
- The Sun’s corona extends millions of kilometres into outer space and is most easily seen during a total solar eclipse, but it is also observable with a coronagraph.
- Spectroscopy measurements indicate strong ionization in the corona and a plasma temperature in excess of 1000000 Kelvin much hotter than the surface of the Sun.
Predicting in advance
- The Predictive Solar Surface Flux Transport model developed by the CESSI team can predict the shape of the corona well in advance.
- The researchers can predict the large-scale structure of the Sun’s corona up to two months in advance.
- This model gives advance knowledge and a large window of preparedness for space weather driven by coronal magnetic fields.
Why Space weather matters?
- The dynamic events on the Sun can affect Earth’s outer atmosphere and our technologies, leading to disruption in communication and navigation networks (GPS).
- These are more frequent during solar maxima and pose a threat to space reliant technology and astronauts.