What are Picoflare jets?

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What are Picoflare jets?  Blog Image


Researchers studying the findings of the Solar Orbiter Aircraft, a joint mission by the European Space Agency and the U.S. space agency NASA, recently announced that they have detected picoflare jets from the sun’s outer atmosphere.

About Picoflare jets:

  • These small-scale picoflare jets were observed within emissions from the coronal hole under observation.
  • They lasted only a few dozen seconds, scientists calculated that they provide enough energy to supply a considerable fraction of solar winds. 
  • Pico” is an order of magnitude that denotes 10-12, or one trillionth of a unit.
  • These jets from the sun are named so because they carry approximately one-trillionth the energy of the largest flares the sun is capable of producing,
    • Significance:The discovery is important because strong gusts of solar winds, while creating beautiful auroras in polar areas, are capable of disrupting the earth’s magnetic field as well as damaging electronics in satellites in space and in circuits on the ground. 


Key facts about Solar Orbiter Aircraft

  • It is the most complex scientific laboratory ever to have been sent to the Sun.
  • It will take images of the Sun from closer than any spacecraft before.
  • It contains six remote-sensing instruments and four sets of in situ instruments.
  • Objectives
    • To observe the Sun’s 11-year cycle of rising and subsiding magnetic activity.
    • To study the upper layer of its atmosphere, the corona.
  • It was launched in 2020.


Q1) What is Solar wind?

Solar wind is a continuous stream of charged particles, primarily electrons and protons, flowing outward from the Sun's outermost layer, called the solar corona. These charged particles are accelerated to high speeds by the Sun's intense heat and magnetic fields.

Source: Picoflare jets have been detected from the sun’s outer atmosphere.