International Space Agencies – Missions and Discoveries

What are Picoflare Jets?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Picoflare Jets

Mains level: Not Much


Central Idea

  • A recent revelation from the Solar Orbiter Aircraft, a collaborative endeavour between the European Space Agency and NASA, has illuminated the Picoflare jets erupting from the sun’s outer atmosphere.
  • These jets, marked by their supersonic emergence and brief durations of 20 to 100 seconds, have captured the attention of scientists and space enthusiasts alike.

What are Picoflare Jets?

  • Picoflare jets, observed amidst emissions from the observed coronal hole, are diminutive in scale but pack a potent punch.
  • Their ephemeral existence belies their significance, as scientists have calculated that they contribute a substantial portion of the solar winds’ energy.
  • These solar emanations earned their name, “picoflare jets,” owing to their energy levels, which hover around one-trillionth of the solar flares’ immense energy potential.
  • Solar winds, driven by strong gusts, can not only craft auroras in Polar Regions but also disrupt Earth’s magnetic field and jeopardize electronic systems on satellites and terrestrial circuits.

About Solar Orbiter Aircraft

  • A Stellar Journey: Launched in 2020, the Solar Orbiter Aircraft embarks on a mission to capture unprecedented images of the Sun, propelling closer than any previous spacecraft.
  • Instrumentation Excellence: Equipped with six remote-sensing instruments and four sets of in situ instruments, the spacecraft is primed for comprehensive solar exploration.
  • Mission Objectives: The Solar Orbiter Aircraft carries two primary objectives: to scrutinize the Sun’s 11-year cycle of magnetic activity ebbs and flows and to delve into the mysteries of the solar corona, the upper echelon of the Sun’s atmosphere.

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