Solar Flares Represent A Threat, But Scientists Work On Prediction Methods

National Science Foundation’s Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope was inaugurated on December 12, last year. The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) is the world’s largest solar telescope, as well as the world’s most potent. The advanced solar telescope has a 4-meter aperture and can capture images as small as 30 km in size on the Sun. The first images of the telescope showed convective cells the size of Texas.

Besides providing beautiful images of the star at the center of our Solar System, the telescope is also part of a variety of projects set to defend Earth from the sudden flash of increased brightness on the Sun hazard. The telescope will help to provide the scientists with information when a solar flare occurs, which will help humanity combat the imminent harm.

Scientists don’t know when precisely the solar flare will hit our planet, but it will definitely happen one day, maybe even in the near future. Studying the Sun may help us understand precisely how the solar flares work. It is the only way to be prepared for the upcoming hit.

The Effects of the Solar Flares

The first white light flare was observed back in 1859 by solar astronomer Richard Carrington. The white light resembled a strong bright light for approximately 5 minutes before vanishing completely with no trace. The first-ever observed solar flare could be seen as auroras around the globe 18 hours later. This aurora is the tremendous geomagnetic storm recorded in the history of our planet.

This geomagnetic storm had an impact on the telegraph systems causing shocks and even starting fires even when they were off. If such a powerful geomagnetic storm occurred nowadays, the outcome would be catastrophic for the more advanced infrastructure we have for electricity and electronics. The possible disaster could cause trillions of dollars damage.

The Inouye Solar Telescope Mission

The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope’s main mission goal is to measure the magnetic field, a vector field, of the Sun at three different layers — photosphere, chromosphere, or throughout the solar corona.

The DKIST will also measure the magnetic fields on and around the Sun, something that was not possible in the past.