The Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission (MMS), which belongs to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, caught images of a massive solar explosion that propelled sun particles into space. The Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission was specially designed to capture interplanetary shockwaves such this one using high-resolution technology.
Massive Solar Explosion Generated Interplanetary Shockwaves
The event happened in January 2018, and NASA succeeded in sharing the footage with the world. What really happened? Researchers from NASA believe that the outbreak and the resulting shockwave occurred when a fast stream of solar wind reached a slower flow. Upon their meeting, an explosion took place, which created a shockwave that billowed out fragments of plasma into the Solar System.
The interplanetary shock that happened with the Sun is a kind of shock that is not produced by a collision, but by sun particles that transmit their energy by means of electromagnetic fields rather than hitting each other. Our sun is not the only one that goes through such interplanetary shock; this is a phenomenon that can be found in supernovae, black holes, and other stars.
What Will Happen To The Sun?
Researchers also determined that in the last 4.5 billion years, our Sun has expanded continuously due to the accelerated burning of helium. Luckily, the Sun does not extend very quick, as it only became larger by 20% since it formed and it will not expand by much for another 6 billion years.
The scientists know that sometime in the far future, the Sun will exhaust the hydrogen and it will lose its hydrostatic equilibrium. This will increase temperature, and it will expand to become a red giant. The Sun will be so big that Mercury and Venus will be absorbed by it, and the Earth will become inhabitable. The next stage, the Sun will undergo is to transform into a white dwarf.
Lena Pierce is a reporter for Great Lakes Ledger. After graduating from Ryerson In Toronto, Lena got an internship at CBC radio in Calgary. Lena was also a beat reporter for the Calgary Flames. Lena mostly cover sports and community events. Contact Lena here.