Japanese probe helps unlock riddle of sun's heat
2007-12-11 0:00

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

Wotan: The Archetype of the Awakened Aryan Man
2015-08-05 2:50
Wotan/Woden/Odin represents the archetype of the questing and awakened Aryan man, in particular the questing and awakened Germanic man. Whilst it is clear from our studies of Germanic mythology that Wotan was not the original primary God of the Germanic pantheon – that honour rests with Tiw/Tyr/Ziu  – nevertheless, Wotan represents that questing and awakened part of the Aryo-Germanic soul more than any other deity. In this article I wish to focus ...
Worker fired over hospital's hardline vaccination policy
2015-08-04 20:55
Three others suspended under Waikato DHB’s new rule requiring staff to be vaccinated or wear a mask. One worker has now been sacked for defying a new hard-line policy forcing unvaccinated Waikato District Health Board staff to get flu jabs or wear masks. A number of staff at the DHB have come forward with concerns since the Weekend Herald revealed that three ...
Bulgaria keeps out migrants with a 50 mile razor wire fence along Turkish border
2015-08-04 20:27
Keep out: Police chief Ivan Stoyanov at the fenceStretching far into the horizon, this is the super-fence blocking thousands of migrants hoping for a new life in Europe. As police in Calais struggle to contain thousands trying to storm the Eurotunnel in their desperation to get into Britain, the Bulgarian authorities are shoring up their border with Turkey. The barriers around the ...
DF wants video to tell refugees to stay away
2015-08-04 20:59
 “If you want to seek happiness in Europe, Denmark is not the right place.”  That’s the message that the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party (DF) wants to send loud and clear to asylum seekers.   DF spokesman Martin Henriksen is calling on Denmark to replicate Australia by releasing a video in English and Arabic that will discourage asylum seekers from making their way ...
Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
2015-08-04 18:26
King Willem-Alexander delivered a message to the Dutch people from the government in a nationally televised address: the welfare state of the 20th century is gone. In its place a "participation society" is emerging, in which people must take responsibility for their own future and create their own social and financial safety nets, with less help from the national government. The ...
More News »