The rotational speed of the Sun at a young age also partially influenced the birth of life on Earth. The atmosphere of our planet in the early stages was different and had the appearance of a thin envelope of hydrogen and helium „stuck“ to the Earth’s surface. The flares of the Sun, within 200 million years, have removed this „fog“.
Although our house stars burn silently every day in our skies, men have seen the sun only from a perspective: from the front, and from the level of the planets.
ESA’s Solar Orbiter, or SolO, is about to change this, since it is designed to perform a full reconnaissance of the sun that will allow you to see the once invisible polar regions of this star.
From this unique point of view, the supply of 10 SolO instruments will help to discover how the star manages to send flows of energetic particles, called solar wind, through our planetary system. It will also help answer the question of what controls the 11-year solar magnetic cycle, which varies in intensity and causes sudden fluctuations in solar activity.
Untangling these elements is not simply an academic matter; could improve Earth’s public security. The changes in the magnetic activity of the sun take into account the powerful and energetic solar flares that can put electrical networks out of play, bring down satellites, and prove lethal to humans in the cosmos.
Right now, humans are not so good at predicting when or with what force these eruptions will plague the planet. „Understanding these fundamental processes, that is, the physical processes taking place in the innermost region of the solar atmosphere, can really help us,“ says Holly Gilbert, NASA’s SolO scientist.
SolO is launched in a particularly hot moment of solar monitoring; it is just one of many new projects that aim to observe the sun, offering opportunities for more in-depth scientific explorations of our star than ever.
„It’s just a really good time to be heliophysicists,“ says Nicola Fox, director of NASA’s heliophysics division. „Having this kind of coordinated thrust brings about huge, huge changes in the amount of science that can be done.“
Experts from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center laboratory studied lunar soil samples and via virtual models determined that our Sun during its first billion years of age rotated much more slowly than the other stars.
The study is presented on the NASA website. Analysis of the lunar soil showed that the Earth and the Moon about 4.5 billion years ago were made of the same material. However, today the sodium and potassium content in the lunar regolith is significantly lower than in the terrestrial soil. Why?
In the search for an answer, scholars have unexpectedly revealed the greatest mystery of the Sun. Until today, in fact, it was not known how it was and at what speed our star rotated in its youth.
It turned out that the history of the Sun is „buried“ under the lunar crust. The creation of computer simulations made it possible to imitate the influence of solar activity on the quantity of sodium and potassium that arrive on the surface of the Moon or are transported by the solar wind, i.e. the flow of charged particles emitted by the upper atmosphere of the Sun.
It therefore appears that previously the Sun rotated more slowly than half the young stars. According to scholars during its first billion years of age, the Sun took at least 9-10 days to make a rotation.
With a more comprehensive global view, scientists should really be able to dig deep into the complexities of these magnetic cycles and how this energy manifests itself on the surface of the star. Magnetic rings and waves are potentially very powerful, with recently discovered „anomalous waves“ that perhaps explain the mystery of why the crown is hotter than the solar surface.
The rings, which arch high above the surface of the sun, are often the sites where solar flares are born. Sometimes these flares launch supersonic bubbles, heavily charged with particles in space, called coronal mass ejections, or CMEs. If any of those charges drifted to Earth, it could be catastrophic.
In 1859 a particularly powerful CME knocked out the telegraphs and sent the skies of the earth into flames with auroras so bright that they imitated the light from the day. Now called the Carrington Event, these types of space weather events are exactly what scientists hope to predict on the longest possible time notice.