Radio observatory helps identify missing link between solar storms and radio bursts

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Posted October 8, 2013
New research by scientists at Trinity College Dublin, University College London, and the University of Hawai’i, published online in Nature Physics, has shown for the first time a direct link between solar storms, shock waves and solar radio bursts.
Image of sun courtesy of NASA.

The Sun gives light and heat that makes life possible on Earth. It can, however, have more sinister effects, sometimes unleashing huge eruptions of hot gas, called solar storms, which carry billions of tons of matter travelling at millions of kilometres an hour in Earth’s direction. These storms can be accompanied by solar radio bursts, which can cause damaging effects on many of the technologies that we rely on in our everyday lives.

“Radio bursts from solar storms can have adverse effects on both satellite and terrestrial communications. In fact, mobile phone networks can experience increased dropped-calls during periods of increased solar activity,” said Eoin Carley, Irish Research Council PhD student at the School of Physics, Trinity College Dublin and first author on a recent paper on this topic in Nature Physics.

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