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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

National Centre for Radio Astrophysics scientists make deepest radio image of the Sun

The team generated higher contrast images of the Sun at hundreds of closely spaced frequencies at every half-a-second, totalling million images/hour.

india Updated: Apr 16, 2019 14:23 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
Surajit Mondal, lead author of AIRCARS project said that previously people could look at only the bright flares which are the tip of the iceberg.
Surajit Mondal, lead author of AIRCARS project said that previously people could look at only the bright flares which are the tip of the iceberg.(HT Photo )
         

A team of scientists led by Divya Oberoi, Atul Mohan and Surajit Mondal at the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) here has made significant advances by generating the deepest-ever images of the Sun at radio wavelengths. The trio worked on this research to understand the connection between the activities of the Sun and the space weather.

The radio data was acquired through the radio telescope Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) in Australia, in which Oberoi was involved since its inception. He along with his PhD students Rohit Sharma, Atul Mohan and Surajit Mondal have been working on the independent project for many years.

“We have developed an indigenous software package called Automated Imaging Routine for Compact Arrays for the Radio Sun or AIRCARS. We, along with several international collaborators, have been building tools and techniques to uncover the mysteries of the Sun using the Murchison Widefield Array data. Now, finally we have made the deepest radio image of the Sun, which is a big step towards predicting space weather,” said Oberoi.

Surajit Mondal, lead author of AIRCARS project said that previously people could look at only the bright flares which are the tip of the iceberg. “For understanding the space weather, details which are hidden at the fag end are important. AIRCARS can do exactly this. It can help in understanding and predicting the space weather better and faster,” said Mondal.

The team generated higher contrast images of the Sun at hundreds of closely spaced frequencies at every half-a-second, totalling million images/hour.

This was done , using AIRCARS. These high contrast images led to the discovery of rapidly oscillating (expanding and contracting) large regions at the source of a weak burst which challenges the conventional wisdom about their origin.

Atul Mohan, the lead author of the paper while describing the details of the independent project said, “These findings dismisses the surface origin of the oscillations, instead points to new phenomenon operating deep down the solar atmosphere”.

The team informed that the studies will be featured in the April 2019 issue of the Astrophysical Journal of the American Astronomical Society. The other members who contributed to the work are Colin Lonsdale and Leonid Benkevitch, both from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA; John Morgan from Curtin University, Australia; Iver Cairns from University of Sydney, Australia; and Meagan Crowley from University of Massachusetts, USA.

Talking about this project, Prof Yashwant Gupta, NCRA director said, “This new research finding is very interesting and exciting. It is complementary to the work which we do at Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT). This is the result of our team working on the data which is not from GMRT but they have done excellent work for developing a pipeline looking at the data which has come from other observatories. So to us it is a very good sign. We are able to grow and develop in different direction in addition to our own pioneering work at GMRT. The result of this project is interesting and important in its own rights.”

First Published: Apr 16, 2019 03:41 IST

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