Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Views On The Sun's Startling Magnetic Fountains

Date:
April 3, 2008
Source:
Royal Astronomical Society
Summary:
Astronomers have known for decades that the Sun has a very dynamic atmosphere. Huge fountains of hot gas erupt in the atmosphere, or corona, every few minutes, traveling at tens of thousands of km per hour and reaching great heights. Now a team of scientists have used the Hinode spacecraft to find the origin and driver of these fountains - immense magnetic structures that thread through the solar atmosphere.

During a total solar eclipse the Moon passes in front of the Sun, blocking out the most intense solar light and allowing us to view the Sun's atmosphere, or corona, from Earth. The Sun's light can be seen streaming through the immense magnetic structures that thread through the corona and stretch out into space.
Credit: Luc Viatour GFDL/CC

Astronomers have known for decades that the Sun has a very dynamic atmosphere. Huge fountains of hot gas erupt in the atmosphere, or corona, every few minutes, travelling at tens of thousands of km per hour and reaching great heights. Now a team of scientists have used the Hinode spacecraft to find the origin and driver of these fountains - immense magnetic structures that thread through the solar atmosphere.

Related Articles


On April 2 at the Royal Astronomical Society National Astronomy Meeting in Belfast (NAM 2008), team leader Dr Michelle Murray from the Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL, University College London) will present the latest results from Hinode together with computer simulations that model conditions on the Sun.

Since its launch in October 2006, scientists have been using Hinode to examine the solar atmosphere in extraordinary detail. One of the instruments on the space observatory, the Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer (EIS) built by a consortium led by MSSL, generates images of the Sun and gives information on how fast its gases are moving.

Increases in pressure at the base of the Sun's magnetic field cause enormous jets of hot gas to shoot upwards into the solar atmosphere. Once the pressure ceases, the hot gases stop soaring into the atmosphere and fall back towards the solar surface. The changes in pressure are caused by rearrangements of the Sun's magnetic field, a continual process that results in looping cycles of increasing and decreasing pressure and, consequentially, intermittent solar fountains.

“EIS has observed the Sun's fountains in unprecedented detail and it has enabled us to narrow down the fountains' origins for the first time”, comments team member and MSSL postgraduate student Deb Baker.

'We have also been able to find what drives the fountains by using computer experiments to replicate solar conditions.”

'The computer experiments demonstrate that when a new section of magnetic field pushes through the solar surface it generates a continual cycle of fountains”, explains Dr Murray, "but new magnetic fields are constantly emerging across the whole of the solar surface and so our results can explain a whole multitude of fountains that have been observed with Hinode.”


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. "New Views On The Sun's Startling Magnetic Fountains." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080402163003.htm>.
Royal Astronomical Society. (2008, April 3). New Views On The Sun's Startling Magnetic Fountains. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 5, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080402163003.htm
Royal Astronomical Society. "New Views On The Sun's Startling Magnetic Fountains." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080402163003.htm (accessed March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Hubble Sees Rare 'Einstein Cross' Image Of Distant Supernova

Hubble Sees Rare 'Einstein Cross' Image Of Distant Supernova

Newsy (Mar. 5, 2015) — A rare trick of the light caused by the gravity of a distant galaxy caused Hubble to see four images of the same supernova at once. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's Up March 2015

What's Up March 2015

NASA (Mar. 4, 2015) — A total solar eclipse in the North Atlantic and tips to prepare for the next U.S. eclipse. Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: SpaceX Launches Rocket, Satellites on Board

Raw: SpaceX Launches Rocket, Satellites on Board

AP (Mar. 2, 2015) — SpaceX launched it&apos;s 16th Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Sunday night. The rocket was carrying two commercial communications satellites. (March 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA EDGE: SMAP Launch

NASA EDGE: SMAP Launch

NASA (Mar. 2, 2015) — Join NASA EDGE as they cover the launch of the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) spacecraft live from Vandenberg Air Force Base.  Special guests include NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, SMAP Project System Engineer Shawn Goodman and Lt Col Brande Walton and Joseph Sims from the Air Force.  No word on the Co-Host&apos;s whereabouts. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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