Great Balls ‘O Fire! Why’s Our Star’s Atmosphere So Hot?

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 26 February 2019



We Like “Weather” Everywhere!

Solar tadpole-like jets seen with NASA'S IRIS add new clue to age-old mystery,
Tadpole-shaped jets containing pseudo-shocks streaking out from the Sun, Abhishek Srivastava IIT (BHU)/Joy Ng, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, February 19, 2019. Image Credits: Abhishek Srivastava IIT (BHU)/Joy Ng, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.


Great Balls ‘O Fire!
Why’s Our Star’s Atmosphere So Hot?

Tadpole-shaped jets containing pseudo-shocks streaking out from the Sun,
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, February 19, 2019.


What? State of the Sun
Atmosphere Hotter than Surface
“...scientists have been trying to figure out why the wispy upper atmosphere of the Sun — the corona — is over 200 times hotter than the solar surface.”

New Discovery
“Scientists have discovered tadpole-shaped jets coming out of regions with intense magnetic fields on the Sun…”

Jets, “...made entirely of plasma, the electrically conducting material made of charged particles that account for an estimated 99 percent of the observable universe. The discovery adds a new clue to one of the longest-standing mysteries in astrophysics.”

Two Existing Theories
“...debated two possible explanations for coronal heating: nanoflares and electromagnetic waves. The nanoflare theory proposes bomb-like explosions, which release energy into the solar atmosphere. Siblings to the larger solar flares, they are expected to occur when magnetic field lines explosively reconnect, releasing a surge of hot, charged particles. An alternative theory suggests a type of electromagnetic wave called Alfvén waves might push charged particles into the atmosphere like an ocean wave pushing a surfer. Scientists now think the corona may be heated by a combination of phenomenon like these, instead of a single one alone.”

New Player
“The new discovery of pseudo-shocks adds another player to that debate.”

Magnetic Tangles
“…scientists noticed unique elongated jets emerging from sunspots...and rising 3,000 miles up into the inner corona.”

Explosive Situation
“The scientists believe the pseudo-shocks are ejected by magnetic reconnection — an explosive tangling of magnetic field lines, which often occurs in and around sunspots.”

Heating Things Up
“...these pseudo-shocks could carry enough energy and plasma to heat the inner corona.”

Solar Observatories
“Over the past five years, IRIS has kept an eye on the Sun in its 10,000-plus orbits around Earth. It’s one of several in NASA’s Sun-staring fleet that have continually observed the Sun over the past two decades. Together, they are working to resolve the debate over coronal heating and solve other mysteries the Sun keeps.”


Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS

“...observe how solar material moves, gathers energy, and heats up as it travels through a little-understood region in the sun's lower atmosphere.”

To Study the two regions closest to the sun

The Chromosphere and the Transition region


Our Quite Amazing, “Normal,” Star
Research & Information

What Is the Sun Made Of and When Will It Die?

The Universe: Seeing our Future in Deep Space: Cool Red Giant



Sky News: Solar System Formation; Most Sophisticated Explanation Yet

Ancient Wandering Star: Visited Solar System, Disturbed Oort Cloud


Unrecognized Carrington Event blew the Mines, Effects of Space Weather blows my Mind



Recent Solar News

Solar News 2018, FYI: Radiation Increasing


Star News: September 2017, A Busy Month for the Sun, 31 Flares & several powerful Coronal Mass Ejections



The Big Picture

Potential Confluence of Grand Orbital Cycles with Human Ignorance could End Antarctic Ice


Longest Orbital Cycles Proven and Measured; Half-Billion Year Super-Milankowitch Cycles




Astro-Physics News


February 2019 News of Man & Nature




Nature News


Climate Destruction News



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Spider Forum

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Frogs and Reptiles

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Female Trail

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