April 15, 2024

The sun is constantly emitting radiation and charged particles into space. If this flow of particles (solar wind) is significantly stronger in a limited area than the sun for a short time, it is called a solar flare. The earth is in fact protected by its magnetic field and atmosphere, as explained in an interview with APA Robert Jarolim of the Physics Institute of the University of Graz. However, when high-energy radiation and particles released by a solar flares affect the earth’s magnetic field during massive solar storms, this can cause considerable damage: power grids or communication and navigation systems and collapse of air traffic, satellites can be destroyed.

For decades there have been efforts to be able to make more accurate predictions of such events and possible effects through a thorough understanding of high-energy processes. “We need to better understand the connection between our observations and the underlying physics, better describe and model the development over time to gain a better understanding of space climate from simulations,” Jarolim said, describing the long way ahead.

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Graz and Moscow worked together on the project

To better understand and monitor these phenomena, the Sun is constantly monitored by a network of ground-based observatories and space telescopes. Together with colleagues from Moscow, the young physicist from Graz managed to simulate the magnetic field in the upper layers of the solar atmosphere, where eruptions take place. ‘Measurements are not possible in these areas. We therefore need models to be able to describe and understand the processes,’ explained the lead author of the ‘Nature’ publication.

The research team focuses on sunspots. “These are areas with a very strong magnetic field,” says Jarolim. He wants to use artificial intelligence to advance automated observation. The physicist, who has many years of experience in software development, uses neural networks for this. “We can integrate data more flexibly and thus find more flexible solutions,” Jarolim summarized. The data is combined with physical models to simulate what is happening in the upper layers of the solar atmosphere. With the new method, the calculation time can also be “significantly reduced”. This makes it possible to “enter new data in near real time,” the astrophysicist stressed. The simulation of five days of observation therefore required less than twelve hours of total calculation.


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#Artificial #intelligence #solar #flares #predictable #Graz

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