Solar activity insights could help protect power grids
doi:10.1038/nindia.2016.102 Published online 10 August 2016
Peering deeper into space, researchers have gained new insights that could help protect power grids and satellite-based communication from damaging particles and radiation.They have analysed type II solar radio bursts, and learnt more about the relationship between radio bursts, solar flares and coronal mass ejections1 —solar phenomena that emit energetic particles and harmful radiation impacting Earth’s atmosphere.
Low-frequency solar radio bursts are very important as they originate in the same layers of the Sun’s atmosphere that generate solar flares and coronal mass ejections. To better understand the relationship between radio bursts, solar flares and coronal mass ejections, the researchers investigated 426 type II solar radio bursts and their associations with solar flares and coronal mass ejections from 1997 to 2014.
The starting frequency of most radio bursts lies between 1 and 14 MHz with a mean starting frequency of 11 MHz, indicating that most such bursts start around 11 MHz. The team also found that 57% of the coronal mass ejections associated with radio bursts decelerate, 15% of the ejections associated with radio bursts move with zero or little acceleration and the rest accelerate.
The scientists note that the duration of the radio bursts depends on a specific class of solar flares, suggesting that large solar flares may produce strong radio bursts.
1. Mittal, N. et al. Relationship of decametric-hectometric type II radio burst, coronal mass ejections and solar flare observed during 1997–2014. New. Astron. 50, 60-72 (2016)