Latest study led by a team of researchers at the University of Hawai’I (UH) at Mānoa draws attention to the amount of hydrogen, helium and other elements present in the violent outbursts from the sun, including other types of solar wind, which is a stream of ionized atoms released from the sun.
The news study led by researcher of UH Manoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), Gary Huss investigated a sample of solar wind collected by NASA’a Genesis mission.
In 2001, the Genesis probe brought back samples of solar wind in pure materials to Earth to be studied in a lab. Sources suggest those represented particles gathered from various sources of solar wind, including those from Coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which are plasma bursts erupting from the sun. Experts suggest these head out into the solar system at a speed which is as fast as 2 million miles per hour.
According to reports, the Genesis sample allowed more accurate evaluation of hydrogen abundance in CMEs and of other components of the solar wind. Reportedly almost 91% of the Sun’s atoms are hydrogen, it is because of this that everything that happens in the solar wind plasma is influenced by hydrogen.
Measuring hydrogen in the Genesis samples has been the greatest challenge faced in the latest project. The recent study determined a precise amount of hydrogen in the solar wind which in return allowed the team to observe miniscule amount of neon and helium related to hydrogen released from the massive solar ejections.
The new measurements of hydrogen determined that helium and neon are enriched in coronal mass ejections, thus highlighting physics in the sun which cause the coronal mass ejections.
“The ejected material appears to be enriched almost systematically in atoms that require the most energy to ionize,” commented Ryan Ogliore, co-author and assistant professor of physics at Washington University in St. Louis. “That tells us a lot about the physics involved in the first stages of the explosion on the Sun.”
The new study has elevated the understanding of the origins of specific solar events.