Scientists have discovered a mysterious “heartbeat”-like signal from our Sun that repeats itself every 10 to 20 seconds.
The bizarre picture has been attributed to a class C solar flare located 3,106 miles above the star’s surface.
These pulses, known as quasi-periodic pulsations (QPPs), have long been a mystery and a subject of controversy among solar physicists.
Team led by New Jersey The Institute of Technology (NJIT) said finding the source of the heartbeat — a solar flare — could help scientists better understand how catastrophic solar storms occur.
Scientists have discovered a signal emanating from the Earth’s Sun, which repeats like a heartbeat – every 10-20 seconds.
Co-author Siji Yu, an astronomer at NJIT, said in a statement: “The discovery is unexpected.
“This beat pattern is important for understanding how energy is released and dissipated in the Sun’s atmosphere during these incredibly powerful solar explosions.”
Solar radio bursts are intense bursts of radio waves from the Sun that are often associated with solar flares and are known to contain signals with a repeating pattern.
The team identified the source of the heartbeat after analyzing microwave observations of the July 13, 2017 solar flare made by the NJIT radio telescope called the Owens Valley Extended Solar Array (EOVSA).
These observations showed a recurring signal, which lead author Yuankong Kou, Ph.D. a student at Nanjing University (NJU) compared it to a heartbeat.
The team identified a QPP signal at the base of a layer of electrical current that stretches more than 15,534 miles through the flare region of the core of the eruption, where opposite sides approach, tear apart and reconnect, generating intense energy that powers the flare.
This is called magnetic reconnection, and this is the first time a checkpoint has been found in such a location.
Even more interesting is that the team detected a second heartbeat of the outbreak.
“Repeating patterns are not unusual for solar radio bursts,” Coe said.
Bizarre picture has been identified as a class C solar flare located 3,106 miles above the star’s surface (photo)
“But interestingly, there is a secondary source that we didn’t expect, located along the stretched current sheet, which pulsates in the same way as the main CPP source.”
“The signals likely come from quasi-repetitive magnetic reconnections in the flare current sheet.
For the first time, a quasi-periodic radio signal located in the reconnection region has been detected.
“This detection could help us determine which of the two sources caused the other.”
Using EOVSA’s unique microwave imaging capabilities, the team was able to measure the energy spectrum of the electrons in the two radio sources in the event.
Bing Chen, associate professor of physics at NJIT and co-author of the paper, said: “The EOVSA spectral images have given us a novel diagnosis of non-thermal flare electrons with spatial and temporal resolution. … We have found that the distribution of high-energy electrons in the main QPP source is out of phase with the distribution of the secondary QPP source in the electron current sheet.
“This is a strong indication that the two sources of CPP are closely related.”
Ultimately, Yu says the results of the study shed new light on an important phenomenon underlying the reconnection process that leads to these explosive events.
We have finally pinpointed the origin of QPPs in solar flares as a result of periodic reconnection in the flare current sheet. … This study prompts a re-interpretation of previously recorded QPP events and their implications for solar flares.”