IIA develops new model of internal thermal evolution of coronal mass ejections

Published - February 05, 2024 08:42 pm IST - Bengaluru:

An Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) team along with their international collaborators have developed a new model of the internal thermal evolution of coronal mass ejections (CMEs), as they travel from the sun toward the earth.

This has helped divulge the heat budget of the CMEs and their transactions during the dynamic evolution of CMEs. “The study can help trace the thermal histories of solar CMEs and predict the impact of space weather on planets in our solar system,” states the Department of Science and Technology.

CMEs are massive eruptions of plasma and magnetic fields from the sun’s outer atmosphere. “If CMEs are earth-directed, they can adversely affect our planet’s space weather and space-based infrastructure. How hot a CME starts from the sun and how it cools down while reaching earth is yet to be understood,” the department said.

It added that near-sun spectroscopic observations (and near-earth in-situ observations) carried out currently are not sufficient to understand the evolution of CMEs at intermediate/interplanetary distances between the sun and the earth.

“Beginning a novel trend of research, our study derived a comprehensive evolution profile of CME thermodynamic parameters leveraging the analytical called the Flux Rope Internal State (FRIS) model. The indigenously developed model takes inputs from the wide-field-of-view coronagraphic white-light observations,” said Soumyaranjan Khuntia, the lead author and a doctoral student at IIA.

The research has applied the model to two specific CMEs that erupted from the sun in the past and had data from multiple telescopes and spacecraft.

Utilising data from the NASA and ESA space missions such as SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory), STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relation Observatory), SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory) along with an indigenously developed analytical model, the team was able to establish a noteworthy fact about the differential heating in CMEs having different kinematics through the interplanetary space.

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