Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Source Of Solar Wind Discovered

Date:
April 3, 2008
Source:
Royal Astronomical Society
Summary:
Scientists have found the source of the stream of particles that make up the solar wind. The solar wind consists of electrically charged particles that flow out from the Sun in all directions.

Image of the Sun in X-rays.
Credit: NASA

An international team of scientists have found the source of the stream of particles that make up the solar wind. In a presentation on Wednesday 2 April at the RAS National Astronomy Meeting (NAM 2008) in Belfast, Professor Louise Harra of the UCL-Mullard Space Science Laboratory will explain how astronomers have used a UK-led instrument on the orbiting Hinode space observatory to finally track down the starting point for the wind.

The solar wind consists of electrically charged particles that flow out from the Sun in all directions. Even at their slowest, the particles race along at 200 km per second, taking less than 10 days to travel from the Sun to the Earth. When stronger gusts of the wind run into the magnetic field of the Earth there can be dramatic consequences, from creating beautiful displays of the northern and southern lights (aurorae) to interfering with electronic systems on satellites and sometimes even overloading electrical power grids on the ground.

From its launch in the autumn of 2006, scientists have used the Hinode mission to study the Sun in unprecedented detail. One of the instruments on the probe, the UK-built Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer (EIS) measures the speed at which material flows out from the Sun.

The Sun is a cauldron of hot gas shaped by magnetic fields, which create bright regions of activity on the solar surface. Using EIS, the scientists found that at the edges of these bright regions hot gas spurts out at high speeds. Magnetic fields connect the regions together, even when they are widely separated. For example, in the Hinode images that Prof Harra will present on Wednesday, magnetic fields linked two regions almost 500000 km apart – a distance equivalent to 40 Earths placed side by side in space. When magnetic fields from two regions collide they allow hot gas to escape from the Sun – this material flows out as the solar wind.

Professor Louise Harra of UCL-Mullard Space Science Laboratory says, “It is fantastic to finally be able to pinpoint the source of the solar wind – it has been debated for many years and now we have the final piece of the jigsaw. In the future we want to be able to work out how the wind is transported through the solar system”.


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. "Source Of Solar Wind Discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080402155139.htm>.
Royal Astronomical Society. (2008, April 3). Source Of Solar Wind Discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080402155139.htm
Royal Astronomical Society. "Source Of Solar Wind Discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080402155139.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Did Russia Really Find Plankton On The ISS? NASA Not So Sure

Did Russia Really Find Plankton On The ISS? NASA Not So Sure

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) Russian cosmonauts say they've found evidence of sea plankton on the International Space Station's windows. NASA is a little more skeptical. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space to Ground: Hello Georges

Space to Ground: Hello Georges

NASA (Aug. 18, 2014) Europe's ATV-5 delivers new science and the crew tests smart SPHERES. Questions or comments? Use #spacetoground to talk to us. Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) The Chasqui I, hand-delivered into orbit by a Russian cosmonaut, is one of hundreds of small satellites set to go up in the next few years. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, August 15, 2014

This Week @ NASA, August 15, 2014

NASA (Aug. 15, 2014) Carbon Observatory’s First Data, ATV-5 Delivers Cargo, Cygnus Departs Station and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins