Japanese probe helps unlock riddle of sun's heat
2007 12 11

From: news.yahoo.com


New observations of the Sun gathered by a Japanese probe may finally explain why its outer atmosphere burns white-hot in contrast to its relatively cool surface, scientists said Thursday.

The riddle of the star's white-hot atmosphere, which at several million degrees kelvin is 200 to 300 times warmer than the surface, has intrigued solar physicists for more than 50 years.

The experts tended to fall into two camps, speculating that the extraordinary warmth of the outer atmosphere, or corona, was due to either miniature solar flares or atmospheric (Alfven) waves.

Several research teams had reported evidence of these Alfven waves, which could potentially heat the corona to extreme temperatures by releasing energy as they travel outward from the Sun along magnetic field lines.

But up to this point, scientists had not been able to detect the waves definitively because of the limitations of the available instruments.

The data collected by "Hinode" ("Sunrise" in Japanese), which can precisely measure small changes in the Sun's magnetic field, changed all that.

Images taken by the probe's Solar Optical Telescope suggest that the chromosphere, the region sandwiched between the solar surface and the corona, is riddled with Alven waves, oscillating at 10-25 kilometers per second.

The energy generated by the waves is sufficient to heat the corona which is probably most familiar to the layman as the white band of light that can be seen during the fleeting darkness of a total solar eclipse.

"We don't know how they heat the corona, and we can't be sure where the energy comes from, but we can say the oscillations have enough energy to heat the corona," said Robertus Erdelyi, a professor at the Solar Physics and Space Plasma Research Centre at the University of Sheffield in England.

Erdelyi was the author of an editorial that appeared in the journal Science along with 10 research papers documenting the findings from the Hinode mission.

The satellite, launched September in 2006, has provided scientists with an unprecedented peek at the structures and magnetic fields within the Sun's high-energy plasma, thanks to high-resolution video and images captured by the satellite's spectrometers.

Researchers from NASA and the space agencies of Britain, Europe, Japan, and Norway have been analyzing the data and say it also provides clues to the origins of the solar wind, which blasts through the solar system and buffets planetary atmospheres.

A team lead by Bart de Pontieu of the Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory in Palo Alto, California, showed the Alven waves detected by Hinode are vigorous enough to accelerate the solar wind.

Separately, a US team of solar physicists observed record numbers of jets of rapidly moving hot plasma at the Sun's poles, which they believe may contribute to the solar wind.

"The large number of jets, coupled with the high speeds of the outflowing plasma, lends credence to the idea that X-ray jets are a driving force in the creation of the fast solar wind," said Jonathan Cirtain, a solar physicist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Solar wind can threaten telecommunications, navigation systems and electric power grids on Earth. Scientists hope a better understanding of the wind, could help people plan better for space weather.

Article from: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071206/
sc_afp/scienceusspaceastronomy_071206214549;
_ylt=AvzpmEW6xzb_oZYlVfuuO.7POrgF



Related Articles
The Explosion that Shattered Solar Theory
Electric Motor of the Milky Way
Why The Electric Universe Matters
The Electric Glow Of The Sun
Electric Sunspots
Red Ice Creations Radio - Donald E. Scott - The Electric Sky
Red Ice Creation Radio - Donald E. Scott - The Electric Sky Continued (Subscription)
Solar flares will disrupt GPS in 2011
Solar Storm Warning 2011-2012
A Case For The Sun to Be Alive


Latest News from our Front Page

'Spectre' Is Doomed: Did North Korea Kill James Bond? No, but Political Correctness will
2014-12-22 22:01
Comment: Below is an interesting article from Forbes on the fate of the Bond franchise. They asks: 'Spectre' Is Doomed: Did North Korea Kill James Bond? North Korea probably wasn't behind the Sony hack, China also chimed in. Looks more like a False Flag Hack. North Korea is a lot of things, but behind the Sony attack? Probably not. They have ...
NYPD officer slayings: When the Left's False Narratives Have Deadly Consequences
2014-12-22 21:12
On Saturday afternoon, Black Brooklynite Ismaaiyl Brinsley ambushed two NYPD police officers and shot them both to death while they were sitting in their patrol car. According to early reports, there was “no warning” and “no provocation.” Brinsley simply approached the vehicle and “unloaded” on the two officers sitting inside. Hours before the assassination, he had announced his intent ...
Saudi oil chief: No conspiracy behind oil prices
2014-12-22 20:36
Nothing to see here or here Saudi Arabia's oil chief on Sunday dismissed allegations that his kingdom conspired to bring down oil prices in order to harm other countries and told a summit of Arab energy leaders that he was confident the market would stabilize. The kingdom, which is dependent on oil revenues, is able to weather lower oil prices due to ...
North Korea's internet is having serious problems
2014-12-22 19:13
North Korea is having serious connectivity issues this morning, North Korea Tech reports. The country has extremely limited web infrastructure to begin with, but reports from Dyn indicate the country's infrastructure has suffered a series of major outages over the past 24 hours. As a result, anyone at a North Korean IP would have found it nearly impossible to connect ...
The Left, The State And (Opportunistically As Always) Big Business
2014-12-22 18:04
Adapted from Paul Gottfried‘s address to the 2014 H.L. Mencken Club Conference, at a panel focused on “The Left and the State,“ following remarks made by Carl Horowitz of the National Legal and Policy Center and Keith Preston of Attack the System I’d like to come back to a remark that Carl Horowitz made in Keith Preston described in his remarks, ...
More News »