'Pipe organ' plays above the Sun
By Paul Rincon | news.bbc.co.uk
Immense coils of hot, electrified gas in the Sun's atmosphere behave like a musical instrument, scientists say.
These "coronal loops" carry acoustic waves in much the same way that sound is carried through a pipe organ.
Solar explosions called micro-flares generate sound booms which are then propagated along the coronal loops.
"The effect is much like plucking a guitar string," Professor Robert von Fay-Siebenbuergen told BBC News at the National Astronomy Meeting in Preston.
The corona is an atmosphere of hot, electrically-charged gas - or plasma - that surrounds the Sun. The temperature of the corona should drop the further one moves from the Sun.
But, in fact, the coronal temperature is up to 300 times hotter than the Sun's visible surface, or photosphere. And no one can explain why.
The coronal loops arch hundreds of thousands of kilometres above the Sun's surface like huge fiery fountains, and are generated by the Sun's magnetic field.
As solar plasma travels from the photosphere into the loops, it is heated from about 6,000 Kelvin (5,700C) to upwards of one million Kelvin.
Solar explosions called micro-flares can release energy equivalent to millions of hydrogen bombs.
These blasts can send immensely powerful acoustic waves hurtling through the loops at tens of kilometres per second, creating cosmic "organ music".
"These loops can be up to 100 million kilometres long and guide waves and oscillations in a similar way to a pipe organ," said Dr Youra Taroyan, from the Solar Physics and Space Plasma Research Centre (SP2RC) at the University of Sheffield.
The sound booms decay in less than an hour and dissipate in the very hot solar corona.
Professor von Fay-Siebenbuergen, who is director of SP2RC, said that studying how plasma is heated to such high temperatures in coronal loops could speed up the technological development of industrial-scale nuclear fusion on Earth.
'Star on Earth'
Nuclear fusion is the same process which powers the Sun and other stars. Unlike the burning of fossil fuels, fusion reactions produce no carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas blamed by scientists for warming the planet.
Fusion works on the principle that energy can be released by forcing together atomic nuclei rather than by splitting them, as in the case of the fission reactions that drive existing nuclear power stations.
In the core of the Sun, huge gravitational pressure allows this to happen at temperatures of around 10 million Celsius.
At the much lower pressure that is possible on Earth, temperatures to produce fusion need to be much higher - above 100 million Celsius
In nuclear fusion experiments, powerful magnetic fields can be used to isolate hot plasma from the walls of a containment vessel.
This reduces the conductive heat loss, allowing the electrified gas to be heated to high temperatures.
The most promising magnetic confinement systems are ring-shaped; called a torus.
Professor von Fay-Siebenbuergen said a coronal loop could give clues to improving nuclear fusion because it could be regarded as a half-torus.
The Royal Astronomical Society's National Astronomy Meeting in Preston runs from 16-20 April.
Article from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6574059.stm
The Electric Glow Of The Sun
A Case For The Sun to Be Alive
The Explosion that Shattered Solar Theory
Solar flares will disrupt GPS in 2011
Sunspot Cycles & Natural Disasters
Sunspots and Earthquakes
SUV's On Jupiter? - Solar System Warming
The truth about global warming - it's the Sun that's to blame
Forgotten In Time: The Ancient Solfeggio Frequencies
Red Ice Radio - Donald E. Scott - The Electric Sky
Latest News from our Front Page
Gunman Storms Dutch TV Station Demanding Airtime
Dutch authorities have released few details about the bizarre case of 19-year-old Tarik Zahzah’s attack on the main news studio of television station NOS on Thursday. To get the obvious question out of the way first, the police say there is no evidence that Zahzah, who is half-Egyptian, acted on behalf of organized terrorism.
The authorities always say that on the ...
How Alan Dershowitz bullied rape victims to protect a serial child molester
Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz always felt children were fair game for Israeli missiles. Now the question is whether he thinks they are fair game for the sexual exploits of his powerful associates and himself.
Dershowitz and the UK’s Prince Andrew were accused in a recent court filing of raping a teenage girl who was forced into sexual slavery by ...
This past week, the world's preeminent vultures, the economic power elite, met in Davos to discuss the maintenance of their global fiat hegemony. Highlights included furthering austerity, noting that the serf class can't have air conditioning and cars, as well as cheering on the death of privacy through the rise of technocracy. The degenerate elite, completely out of touch with ...
Men must prove a woman said ’Yes’ under tough new rape rules
New guidance will be issued to all police forces and prosecutors as part of a ’toolkit’ to move rape investigations into the 21st century
Men accused of date rape will need to convince police that a woman consented to sex as part of a major change in the way sex offences are investigated.
The Director of Public Prosecutions said it was ...
4 beheaded in Saudi Arabia less than a week into King Salman's rule
Comment: So when will the the "Human rights" promoting liberal west elite decide invade Saudi Arabia like they did Libya?
Members of Magic Movement stage a mock execution scene in protest of Saudi Arabia beheading of eight Bangladeshi workers in October 2011.
Four people have been executed in Saudi Arabia less than a week after 79-year-old King Salman assumed power following the ...
|More News » |