Mercury was recently defined as the “Sun sentinel”, because it may inform us about imminent geomagnetic storms caused by the arrival of solar plasma bubbles, called Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) into the terrestrial environment.
It is a fact that there is a direct link between the passage of a bubble from the Sun and the exosphere dynamic of Mercury.
The emission trend of Sodium (Na) around Mercury could be an alarm bell in the spatial planetary meteorology: it shall provide indications about the spread of solar low-pressure areas before their possible coming to the Earth.
In a National Institute of Astrophysics (Rome) and the Italian Space Agency research, it was studied the correlation between the trend of sodium distribution (at intervals of one hour) in the atmospheric outer layer of Mercury and the interactions among solar wind, magnetosphere and Mercury surface.
This experiment was conducted within 2012 and 2013: it was noticed there was an intensity with two peaks which correspond to precipitations of particles in the regions whereby magnetic field lines meet on Mercury’s poles as well as happens on Earth; these sodium allocations are a clear track of the transfer of CME.
This study proves how it’s important analysing Mercury about heliosphere dynamic and magnetic Earth storms caused by solar activity. Such phenomena are able to cause interruptions to the operations of technological systems on our planet.
(Written by Carlotta Bellisai)