UCL News


Press cutting: Sun reveals its turbulent magnetic charms

23 March 2007

The structure of the Sun's magnetic field can be seen rising from a sunspot in images taken by the Hinode spacecraft, launched last September to understand the misbehaviour of our local star and how it can disrupt communications and power grids on Earth and threaten astronauts on the way to or working on the moon.

By studying the Sun's magnetic field, scientists hope to shed light on explosive solar activity. In particular they want to identify the magnetic field configurations that lead to these violent energy releases, using this information to predict when these hazardous events may occur. …

"Solar flares are fast and furious they can cause communication blackouts at Earth within 30 minutes of a flare erupting on the Sun's surface. It's imperative that we understand what triggers these events," said Prof Louise Harra [UCL Space & Climate Physics].

Roger Highfield, 'Daily Telegraph'