Feeds

New theory for sun's ring of fire

Sound, not Johnny Cash, responsible

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Scientists have proposed a new mechanism to explain the so-called ring of fire that is visible around the sun during a full solar eclipse.

Previously it was thought that the photosphere, the sun's visible surface, trapped the sound waves that bound around its interior. But the research (presented at the American Astronomical Society Meeting in Hawaii) reveals that they can escape into the ring of fire, or chromosphere as it is more formally known, and even into the corona.

The data suggests that sound waves escaping from the sun's interior create plumes of hot gas, which in turn power the ring of fire.

The chromosphere is a thin region of the sun's atmosphere that is orders of magnitude hotter than the solar surface. It is particularly important because it is largely responsible for the deep UV radiation that produces our ozone layer. It is also very strongly related to climate variability.

These results help explain why the region is so hot, the researchers say.

"The sun's interior vibrates with the peal of millions of bells, but the bells are all on the inside of the building. We have been able to show how the sound can escape the building and travel a long way using the magnetic field as a guide," explains Scott McIntosh, a researcher at Southwest Research Institute in Colorado.

Using observational data from several observatories - space and ground based - the team was able to construct a model showing how the trapped sound waves can leak out of the photosphere and into a magnetic "mould" that forms the chromosphere. The leaks appear to be linked to strong knots of magnetic field.

"The constantly evolving magnetic field above the solar surface acts like a doorman opening and closing the door for the waves that are constantly passing by," said Bart De Pontieu, a researcher at Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Lab.

The constantly changing magnetic field makes it possible for wave motions to pump much more energy into the chromosphere than had previously been thought, the scientists say. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
Boffins build CYBORG-MOTHRA but not for evil: For search & rescue
This tiny bio-bot will chew through your clothes then save your life
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.