Scientists have been eluded for many years in uncovering the reality behind space weather. Although it sounds preposterous, and more alien like, yet space weather has significant importance in our lives. Millions of tons of charged, hot plasma gas is thrust by the Sun, each second. This solar wind collides with the magnetic field surrounding the Earth. As a result, it initiates powerful geomagnetic storms that can damage satellites, blackout power grids and totally disrupt cell phone service.
Researchers are of the view that It is quite important for us to predict these solar outbursts, so that we can effectively take up measures to nullify or reduce their detrimental aspects. Most of the researchers have conducted numerous experiments into realizing the physics behind this space weather, and some of them are about to present their results at the 56th annual meeting of the American Physical Society’s Division of Plasma Physics in New Orleans.
Researchers at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory have revealed that how magnetic reconnection, an explosive phenomenon occurring in solar flares, elevates the solar wind to high energy, and subsequently this solar wind collides with the solar wind surrounding the Earth.
Magnetic reconnection creates huge bursts of plasma from the Sun. But not until recently, scientists had not been able to understand that how could reconnection convert magnetic energy into plasma. Researchers have made ground breaking discoveries in this regard at the Plasma Physics Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy. They were able to understand how the transformation of magnetic energy into particle energy takes place, in a Magnetic Reconnection Experiment (MRX). Researchers revealed that the re-connection converts 50% of the magnetic energy into the explosive particle energy. And from the remaining half of the magnetic energy, about one third heats the electrons and the remaining two thirds accelerate the ions in plasma.