CESSI Team Accurately Predicts Shape Of Sun’s Corona 43 Days Ahead Of Eclipse

This gives a large window of preparedness for space weather driven by coronal magnetic fields, says principal investigator

Solar physicists from the Centre for Excellence in Space Sciences (CESSI), IISER Kolkata, have succeeded in predicting the shape of the sun’s atmosphere — known as the corona — at the time of the annular eclipse of December 25.

This is the second successful prediction, counting the last solar eclipse that was viewed from South America on July 2 this year. While the earlier prediction was slightly different from the actual image, this time it is pretty close to the real thing, which was imaged by NASA’s spaced-based solar observatory SOHO using the LASCO instrument.

“For the South American eclipse of 2 July, 2019, our predicted streamer tilts were slightly larger than observed at large distances from the Sun. This is far better. We are still trying to figure out why this worked so well this time,” says Dibyendu Nandi, professor and principal investigator at CESSI.

The Predictive Solar Surface Flux Transport model developed by the CESSI Team can predict the shape of the corona well ahead ahead of any required date. Prantika Bhowmik, now at Durham University, U.K., developed this model with Dr. Nandi. This is now being further improved by Soumyaranjan Dash, a PhD student at IISER Kolkata.

“Our previous research exploring this prediction method indicates that we can predict the large-scale structure of the Sun’s corona up to two months in advance. This is great because this gives you advance knowledge and a large window of preparedness for space weather driven by coronal magnetic fields,” says Dr. Nandi.

Space weather consists of the varying conditions within the solar system such as solar wind and is different from weather on earth. It can affect the electronics on board satellites.

This time, they had used inputs