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Unraveling a problem with a node of solar activity

Simulation of twisted field lines appearing through the photosphere, the visible surface of the sun. Credit: MacTaggart et al.

A new approach to analyzing the development of the sun’s magnetic entanglement has provided a breakthrough in long-standing debates about how solar energy is injected into the solar atmosphere before it is released into space, causing space weather events. The first direct evidence that force lines are tied before they appear on the visible surface of the Sun affects the behavior of the active area and our ability to predict the nature of the Sun’s interior. Dr. Christopher Praia of the Faculty of Mathematical Sciences, Durham University will present the study today at the Virtual National Astronomy Conference (NAM 2021).


Researchers generally agree that Solar activity It is caused by the instability of the giant twist of the magnetic rope through the visible surface of the Sun, known as the photosphere. However, there was ongoing debate about how these tangles were formed. Two main theories suggest that the field line coils emerge from the lower convection zone through the photosphere, or that the arched field line legs wrap around each other on the surface itself to create a braid. Both mechanisms can theoretically produce effects such as sunspot rotation and dramatic solar flares, but to date, direct observational evidence has not definitively supported either scenario. It was.

A former colleague of the University of Glasgow and INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania in Italy devised a new direct measurement of magnetic field entanglement by tracking the rotation of field lines at the intersection with the photosphere. This “magnetic winding” should appear differently for each of the two theories.Therefore, apply magnetic windings to observations Photosphere By examining the resulting patterns, we can arrive at a definitive answer where the theory was correct.

Unraveling a problem with a node of solar activity

The image on the left shows a series of magnetic loops of the Sun captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. The image on the right has been processed to emphasize the edges of each loop and make the structure clearer. Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center / SDO.

Researchers have studied the magnetic windings of the sun’s ten active regions in observations with solar missions.In each case, the result was consistent with the appearance hypothesis Pre-twisted Field line It rises from the convection zone.

Previously, “pre-twisted field line patterns, Observation data We first considered it and found that it applies to all datasets in the active region we have examined so far. We expect magnetic windings to become a staple in interpreting the magnetic field structure from observational data. ”


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For more information:
MacTaggart, D., Prior, C., Raphaldini, B., Romano, P. , And Guglielmino, S. (2021) Direct evidence: The appearance of twisted flux tubes creates a solar active region. arXiv preprint arXiv: 2106.11638.

Previously, C. , And MacTaggart, D. (2020). Magnetic winding: What is it and what is it suitable for? Bulletin of the Royal Society A, 476 (2242), 20200483.

Quote: Https: //phys.org/news/2021-07-unravelling-knotty-problem-sun.html with section of solar activity (July 21, 2021) obtained on July 21, 2021 Elucidation of the problem

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Unraveling a problem with a node of solar activity

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