CMEs Identification in Inner Solar Corona


    In News

    Recently, researchers from the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), Nainital and the Royal Observatory of Belgium have developed CMEs Identification in Inner Solar Corona (CIISCO).

    • ARIES is an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

    About CIISCO

    • It is an algorithm that will detect and track the accelerating Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) in the lower corona (outermost part of the Sun’s atmosphere)
      • CMEs cause various disturbances to the space environment like disrupting space weather and causing geomagnetic storms, satellite failures and power outages.
      • Therefore, forecasting their arrival time is very important.
    • CIISCO has been successfully tested on several eruptions observed by space observatories, including,
      • Solar Dynamics Observatory and Solar-Terrestrial Relations Observatory by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
      • PROBA2/SWAP launched by the European Space Agency (ESA)
    • Significance: An implementation of CIISCO on the large volume of data available from space observatories will be helpful to improve the understanding of eruptions in the inner corona, a region where the properties of such eruptions are less known.
    • Other Applications: It will be used in India’s first solar mission Aditya-L1.

    Earlier Forecasting Method

    • Computer-Aided CME Tracking Software (CACTus): It is a software, based on a computer vision algorithm that was so far used to detect and characterise such eruptions automatically in the outer corona.
    • Challenges
      • CACTus could not be applied to the inner corona observations due to the vast acceleration experienced by these eruptions and severely limited the capability to track them.
      • Moreover, with the advancement in space technology, there has been a tremendous increase in the amount of data and manual tracking and identification of solar eruptions is a tedious process.
      • Limited CME observations in interplanetary space hinder forecasting accuracy.

    Coronal Mass Ejections

    • They are powerful eruptions near the surface of the sun, driven by kinks (disturbances) in the solar magnetic field and the resulting shocks ripple through the solar system.
    • During a CME, enormous bubbles of superheated gas, called plasma, are ejected from the sun and accelerated to speeds of 1.6 million kilometers per hour.
    • The underlying cause of CMEs is not well understood but it has been agreed by astronomers that the sun’s magnetic field plays a major role.
    • The onslaught of charged particles and the temporary restructuring of the Earth’s magnetic field has observable effects.
      • Auroral lights, usually only seen near the poles, can drift to lower latitudes and become more brilliant.
      • It can also expose Earth to deadly cosmic rays and the astronauts in space may receive lethal doses of radiation.
      • It has the potential to severely disrupt power grids, satellites, communication networks, that is, anything that uses electricity.

                                                     (Image Source: SocraticQ&A)


    • It is India’s first dedicated scientific mission to study the Sun.
    • Orbit: It will be inserted in a halo orbit around the Lagrangian point 1 (L1) of the Sun-Earth system, which is 1.5 million km from the Earth.
      • It will have the major advantage of continuously viewing the Sun without any occultation/eclipses.
    • Payloads: Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC) and additional six payloads.
    • Launch Vehicle: PSLV-XL from Sriharikota, India.
    • Significance
      • Under the mission, the study of the Sun’s corona, solar emissions, solar winds and flares and CMEs will be conducted.
      • Its studies will enhance the current understanding of the Solar Corona and also provide vital data for space weather studies.

    Source: Tribune India