The temperature of the Sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona, has puzzled scientists for decades. It stretches millions of kilometers into space and is incredibly hot at over 1.7 million degrees Fahrenheit (1 million degrees Celsius). On the other hand, the sun’s surface has a “pleasant” temperature of 9,900 degrees Fahrenheit (5,500 degrees Celsius). The difference defies logic: in most cases, the material closer to the heat source is hotter than anything farther away. Scientists have long known that some unknown mechanism must be at work.
A new study has shown that the heat generated by the newly discovered miniature solar flares around the campfire may have been enough to withstand the tremendous heating of the corona. The study was presented at the General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) on Tuesday, April 27, 2021, and accepted for publication in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.
The study used computer simulations to simulate solar radiation in the hopes of causing flares like those actually measured by scientific instruments. According to Professor Hardy Peter of the Institute for Solar System Research. Max Planck in Germany, while simulating they saw a brightness similar in scale to the bonfires seen by the Solar Orbiter. statement released by the European Space Agency (ESA). The scientists then took a closer look at the magnetic disturbances around seven of the brightest simulated bonfires, which were roughly the same size as the brightest events detected by the Solar Orbiter.
“[The model] tracks magnetic field lines, allowing us to see changes in the magnetic field in and around brightness events over time, ”said Hardy.
Tracing these magnetic lines has shown that there appears to be a process called reconnection, Hardy said. Scientists speculate that magnetic reconnections are causing large-scale solar flares and coronal mass ejections… Visible disturbances on the Sun’s surface occur when two oppositely directed magnetic field lines break and reconnect, releasing massive amounts of energy in the process.
“Our model shows that the energy released from [campfires] Reconnecting the components may be enough to maintain the predicted temperature of the solar corona from observations, ”said Yajie Chen, a graduate student at Peking University of China and lead author of the article in an ESA statement.
Bonfires 250 to 2500 miles in diameter (400 to 4000 km) can appear large from a human point of view. But in reality, they are tiny compared to the more famous but rarer solar flares that cause magnetic storms on Earth, as well as the beautiful manifestations of the aurora borealis.
The significance of these bonfires lends their abundance. In the first images of the Solar Orbiterreleased in July 2020, scientists could observe these bonfires all over the Sun’s disk, each flickering like a candle for ten seconds to several minutes before disappearing.
The idea that miniature solar flares may be responsible for the mysterious heating of the corona was first pioneered in the 1980s by the American physicist Eugene Parker, namesake of another pioneering spacecraft for the study of solar energy. NASA Parker Solar Probe…
New research suggests that Parker, now 93, may have been right.
“Our mission is successful because it builds on the incredible experiences of those who have flown before, as well as theories and models that have been advanced over the past decades,” said Daniel Müller, ESA Orbiter Project Scientist, in a statement. “We look forward to seeing what missing pieces the Solar Orbiter – and the solar community working with our data – contribute to solving open questions in this exciting area.”
The results are especially impressive since the Solar Orbiter is not yet at its official scientific stage. The spaceship that must take closest images of the sunis still in the process of checking and adjusting the orbit, known as the cruise phase. He will officially begin scientific exploration of the star at the center of our solar system in November 2021.
The images of the bonfires were taken in June 2020 around the spacecraft. first perihelion, the point in its orbit closest to the Sun. At the time, the spacecraft was about 48 million miles (77 million kilometers) from the star’s surface, about half the average distance between the Sun and Earth. But Solar Orbiter’s controllers continue to shorten its orbit around the Sun, ultimately causing the spacecraft to move only 42 million kilometers away.
During upcoming passes Parker Solar Probe dives much deeper into the Sun’s environment, passing closer than 10 million miles from its surface. But the spacecraft does not have cameras to take images of the Sun’s surface; instead, they take other measurements of the circumsolar environment.
Later on in its mission, operators will deflect the Solar Orbiter’s orbit around the Sun out of the plane of the ecliptic in which the planets orbit, allowing the spacecraft to enter orbit. the first ever high-resolution images of the poles of a star. According to scientists, studying activity around the poles will help us better understand the magnetism of the Sun and understand what drives solar cycle, periodic ebb and flow of stellar flares and sunspots.
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