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Giant Pipe Organ In The Solar Atmosphere

Date:
April 21, 2007
Source:
Royal Astronomical Society
Summary:
Astronomers have found that the atmosphere of the Sun plays a kind of heavenly music. The magnetic field in the outer regions (the corona) of our nearest star forms loops that carry waves and behave rather like a musical instrument.

The magnetic field in the outer regions (the corona) of our sun forms loops that carry waves and behave rather like a musical instrument.
Credit: Image courtesy of Royal Astronomical Society

Astronomers have found that the atmosphere of the Sun plays a kind of heavenly music. The magnetic field in the outer regions (the corona) of our nearest star forms loops that carry waves and behave rather like a musical instrument.

In a talk at the Royal Astronomical Society National Astronomy Meeting in Preston, Dr Youra Taroyan and Professor Robert von Fay-Siebenburgen of the Solar Physics and Space Plasma Research Centre (SP2RC), University of Sheffield explained the origin of these magnetic sound waves.

In recent years scientists have worked hard to better explain and predict the dynamic behaviour of the Sun. For example, missions like STEREO and Hinode watch as material is ejected towards the Earth, events which are controlled by the solar magnetic field.

In their research, led by Professor von Fay-Siebenburgen, SP2RC scientists combined observations with new theoretical models to study the magnetic sound waves that are set up along loops in the corona. “These loops can be up to 100 million kilometres long and guide waves and oscillations in a similar way to a pipe organ.” - says Dr Taroyan

The acoustic waves can be extremely powerful and reach amplitudes of tens of kilometres per second. Professor von Fay-Siebenburgen adds, “we found that the waves are often generated at the base of the magnetic pipes by enormous explosions known as micro-flares. These release energy equivalent to millions of hydrogen bombs. After each micro-flare, sound booms are rapidly excited inside the magnetic pipes before decaying in less than an hour and dissipating in the very hot solar corona.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Royal Astronomical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Royal Astronomical Society. "Giant Pipe Organ In The Solar Atmosphere." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070419115551.htm>.
Royal Astronomical Society. (2007, April 21). Giant Pipe Organ In The Solar Atmosphere. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070419115551.htm
Royal Astronomical Society. "Giant Pipe Organ In The Solar Atmosphere." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070419115551.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

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