Futurism reported that scientists have found that extra bright light is blasting out of the sun and has been doing so for years. Astronomers out of Michigan State University detected these super energetic gamma rays and found that there are many more of them than they had expected. While these rays don’t quite reach Earth, they are detectable if you’re using the right tools and know what to look for.
Scientists recently revealed data that shows the sun has been bathing Earth in super bright light powered by excessive gamma rays.
The rays were observed using the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov Observatory in Mexico, which was able to detect the gamma rays using its massive array of 300 water tanks, which contain 200 metric tons of water each. When the gamma rays from the Sun hit the atmosphere, they create so-called “air showers,” which redistribute and break down the particles from the rays. After this, they are detectable from Earth.
The theory of the Sun emitting gamma rays has been posited since the 1990s, and the team has been collecting gamma-ray data from 2015 through 2021. Once they had sufficient data to begin looking through, they thought they had initially made a mistake because of the sheer excess of gamma rays and the brightness of the rays they had observed.
However, the data was right, and it turns out that the Sun has been blasting plenty of gamma rays at between one and 10 trillion electron volts. With this newly discovered information about our solar system’s star, there are a lot more observations to be made. As interesting as this discovery is, there is still a lot of science to be done.
Data collected for six years confirmed the theory that the sun was emitting gamma rays, but that opens the door to more questions about its strange behavior.
Of course, the Sun being unpredictable is nothing new. Recently, scientists have observed that our star may be reaching its solar maximum much sooner than what was previously predicted. Massive solar storms have been raging on its surface and causing extreme solar flares and plasma bursts.
The Sun follows a fairly predictable 11-year cycle where it reaches a peak of activity, leading to these ferocious storms. It was predicted that this peak would be coming around 2025, but the recent activity and data suggest that 2024 is going to be the peak of the cycle instead. Just like predicting the weather, though, predicting these cycles isn’t an exact science.
For the last year, the sun has increasing in activity, launching ferocious solar storms in the direction of Earth and sending off more solar flares then originally anticipated by researchers.
The Sun is so powerful though that these increased levels of activity can cause problems for us here on Earth, with solar storms sometimes causing problems with satellite communications and electrical grids.
The recent observations about the gamma rays don’t have the sorts of implications as increased activity, but it does just go to show that there is plenty more for us to learn. Between the gamma rays and the solar peaks, the Sun may be the center of our solar system, but it’s not something that can be easily pinned down.
Needless to say, there is probably going to be plenty more news about the Sun in the future. It’ll be especially interesting to see if we can learn more about these gamma rays. Stay tuned, and we’ll keep you updated on this and other science news.