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Algorithm useful in Aditya L1 mission developed

A group of researchers, led by the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), has developed a novel algorithm to track the very fast accelerating Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) emerging from the interiors of the Sun.

Due to limited technology — both in terms of satellite and ground-based observatories along with computational capabilities, acquiring observations of CMEs originating from within the Sun’s interiors have been a hurdle for the scientific community.

Space environment around Earth is governed by the Sun. Weather and climate on Earth are influenced by even a minor variation in this environment.

CMEs, along with solar flares, solar energetic particles, high-speed solar winds, together pose serious threat to most of Earth’s space-based services including Global Positioning System (GPS), radio and satellite-based telecommunication and can lead to power grid failure. This makes prediction of CMEs vital in order to keep these important services operational. Globally, solar physicists have been working on tracking and improving CME predictions headed towards Earth for several years now.

This algorithm, named CME Identification in Inner Solar Corona (CIISCO), could even set a foundation in planning research of the lesser-known lower corona region of the Sun using Aditya L1, India’s maiden mission to the Sun. This Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)-led mission is scheduled for a launch in 2022.

This novel-developed algorithm has been described in the recent research, published in jounral Solar Physics, was jointly developed along with scientists from the Royal Observatory of Belgium. It is able to track bubbles of gaseous matter associated with magnetic field lines ejected from the Sun’s inside.

All CMEs emerge from the Sun’s surface. But those originating from the Sun’s interior have to travel towards the Sun’s surface, which they do at varying speeds and acceleration rates, before finally ejecting out from the Sun’s surface.

“Not all ejections emerging from within the Sun eject as CMEs. But as these possess very high acceleration rates, there have been limitations in carrying out observations,” said Ritesh Patel, a final year PhD student at ARIES, who is part of the study.

The newly developed algorithm has been able to successfully track these accelerating solar eruptions in lower corona.

CIISCO tested numerous eruptions captured by Solar-Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) launched by NASA and PROBA2 of the European Space Observatory (ESA). ” Very little is known about the properties of lower corona, and this can be improved using CIISCO,” the study highlighted.

“When Aditya L1 will be launched, we will be able to perform similar studies based on observations received from ISRO,” said Patel, who studies space weather and CMEs.

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