Apr 27, 2017 10:43 AM EDT
Scientists from Durham University and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) suggest that Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) and coronal jets are the same kinds. They only differ in size and manifestation but they both come from a similar triggering source. The remarkable findings were published in the journal "Nature" on April 26.
Foremost, the CMEs and coronal jets are both solar activities with very different magnitudes. The former are blasts of charged particles that cause widespread alteration of communication that put astronauts at risks. The CMEs also produce the magnificent auroras visible on Earth's Polar Regions.
On the other hand, per Space, coronal jets are smaller and often less energetic. Before, their origins were believed to be different from one another. However, scientists now claim that the triggering factor is the same, though, yet to be identified.
The researchers made use of high-resolution observations of filaments from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and the joint Japan Exploration Agency. These filaments were dark, snake-like formations suspended above the sun's surface. For one thing, CME eruptions have long been thought to be associated with filaments. Interestingly, the new research found that coronal jets have the same filament-like structures before an eruption too.
As a matter of fact, Peter Wyper, a solar physicist at Durham University and the lead author of the study, said that their theoretical models reveal that coronal jets may be described as "mini CMEs". According to Science Daily, solar scientists can use computer models to better assess their understandings of the observations they see through space telescopes. These models can be utilized to perform tests that cannot be done in real life.
For the record, the experts currently call this proposed mechanism of erupting filaments as the "breakout model". They have been using it to describe CMEs before, but the intriguing part is that they have adapted the model to coronal jets. Actually, they were able to reproduce the smaller eruptions in the computer simulations that match the SDO. Such simulations support the theory that CMEs and jets are caused in the same way.
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