Indian-origin NASA researcher has developed a device that can predict dangerous solar geomagnetic storms at least a day in advance. According to its developer, solar storms can disrupt telecommunications and can cause power outages however, but with the help of this new device we protect systems on the Earth from the coronal mass ejections (CMEs). CMEs are huge bubbles of gas threaded with magnetic field lines that are ejected from the Sun over the course of several hours.
Lead researcher Neel Savani, space scientists at NASA and visiting researcher at Imperial College London, developed the device that precisely identifies the originating point of CMEs on the Sun and with the help of several observatories model to track the evolution of cloud. While explaining the working of the device Savani said that once a CME has left the surface of the Sun there aren’t any tool to measure its magnetic fields however, scientists can visualize clouds expand, twist and grow as they race into time. He further added that he along with his team monitored how a CME changes and moves in the coronagraphs which helped them track the evolution of magnetic field over time.
However, currently scientists cannot predict how a CME’s magnetic fields are arranged. Researchers can only measure the magnetic field when CME passes very close to the Earth. Savani explained that currently they can identify a CME 30-60 minutes in advance when it hits the Earth’s magnetosphere.
Dr Savani along with his team have tested the device on eight CMEs previously and found promising results. Scientists are constantly working to further improve the device and make it more robust by improving its ability to sense magnetic field. Savani believes that with just few tweaks the newly developed device will be able to predict solar storms more than 24 hours in advance.
“As we become more entwined with technology, disruption from large space weather events affects our daily lives more and more. Breaking through that 24-hour barrier to prediction is crucial for dealing efficiently with any potential problems before they arise,” Savani explained.
Moreover, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory was used to observe the CMEs in initial stages on the Sun.