Solar flares made in the lab could teach us about the real thing

A solar flare created in the lab

Yang Zhang et al

Mini solar flares produced in the safety of a laboratory have revealed how the sun fires out energetic particles and X-rays at incredibly high speeds.

The sun regularly spits out solar flares when arcs of plasma, called coronal loops, break. We don’t fully understand how they are made, as even our most detailed pictures of the sun can’t make out details below a resolution of about 10,000 metres, but one idea is that these loops are twisted like braided rope, in a fractal …

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