Photo: Solar flare (NASA)
An intense flare that emerged from the sun’s right side on March 29 was monitored by four spacecraft and a ground-based observatory, NASA said.
The event was captured by NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, Solar Dynamics Observatory and Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager spacecraft, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Hinode vehicle and the National Solar Observatory’s Dunn Solar Telescope in Sacramento Peak, New Mexico.
“This is the most comprehensive data set ever collected by NASA’s Heliophysics Systems Observatory,” Jonathan Cirtain, project scientist for Hinode at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, said.
“Some of the spacecraft observe the whole sun all the time, but three of the observatories had coordinated in advance to focus on a specific active region of the sun. We need at least a day to program in observation time and the target - so it was extremely fortunate that we caught this X-class flare,” he said.
The data collected on March 29 is expected to shed light on the causes of explosions on the sun’s surface.
“Perhaps we may even some day be able to predict their onset and forewarn of the radio blackouts solar flares can cause near Earth - blackouts that can interfere with airplane, ship and military communications,” NASA said.