Published: Monday, 7th October, 2013 12:34pm
A radio observatory at Birr Castle has helped to identify the missing link between solar storms and solar radio bursts, it’s been revealed today (Monday).
The breakthrough - published online in Nature Physics - came as part of new research by scientists at Trinity College Dublin, University College London and the University of Hawaii, after solar physicist at Trinity Professor Peter Gallagher established a radio observatory at Birr Castle to monitor solar radio bursts.
Radio bursts from solar storms can have adverse affects on both satellite and terrestrial communications. Despite decades of study, the link between solar storms and solar radio bursts remained unclear.
“What we have found is fascinating - a real insight into how solar radio bursts are created,” Professor Gallagher said.
“Using antennas at Trinity’s Rosse Observatory in Birr Castle together with images from NASA’s STEREO and Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft, we have identified a missing link between solar storms and radio bursts.”
The findings show that solar storms create huge shock waves that race through the solar atmosphere at millions of kilometres per hours. As they do, they can accelerate electrons to huge energies, which then produce radio waves.
The full paper from the research that is supported by the Irish Research Council can be found at: http://www.nature.com/nphys/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nphys2787.html.