A team of researchers has attempted to better understand the nature of geyser-like eruptions that occur at the so called sunspots – regions of the sun's surface where temperature drops due to magnetic field flux concentrations, space.com reports.
According to the media outlet, the study, which was recently accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal, deals with two main “schools of thought” that attempt to provide an explanation for these solar eruptions.
One line of thinking suggests that these phenomena take place due to "a sudden, excessive amount of magnetic energy destabilizing the environment around the sunspot", while the other postulates that they happen when "occasionally bunches of magnetic fields move in opposite directions, cross paths and perfectly cancel each other out over a specific spot".
However, having examined several "geysers", the scientists now apparently believe that both of these explanations are correct.
"We report that the two widely debated magnetic trigger processes, namely magnetic flux cancellation and magnetic flux emergence, appear to be responsible on a case by case basis for generating each eruption in our set", the authors of the study explain. "We find that 4 of 10 jets were due to flux cancellation while the rest were clearly not, and were more likely due to flux emergence."