Space Telescope of NASA Discovered Magnetic Braids in Sun’s Atmosphere

The space telescope of NASA called High-Resolution Coronal Imager discovered astonishing magnetic braids of super-hot matter in outer atmosphere of the Sun.

Jan 29, 2013 10:26 IST
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The space telescope of NASA discovered astonishing magnetic braids of super-hot matter in outer atmosphere of the Sun. The scientists claimed that this discovery could help in explaining the mysterious hot corona of the Sun.
The scientists of NASA additionally also explained that the discovery made by High-Resolution Coronal Imager, or Hi-C of NASA would help in forecasting the space weather in a better way. The 9.5-inch (24 centimetres) telescope was launched by NASA in July 2012 on the 10-minute flight merely beyond the atmosphere of the Earth in order to know about the corona, which is the million-degree outer atmosphere of the Sun.

The NASA’s telescope captured 165 photographs depicting astonishing details, before it came back to the Earth. It was found out that the Sun’s surface was very hot, as expected. It was almost up to 6125 degrees Celsius. However, it was found that the corona, the outer atmosphere which is way above the surface of the Sun was even hotter, by around a 1000 times more, despite the absence of solar flares.

The scientists also discovered that the powerful magnetic waves which rippled from below the surface of the Sun could heat up the corona by 1.5 million degrees Celsius. However, it was made clear that this was not the only reason that accounted for ultra-hot temperatures of the corona.

With the high-resolution images of the corona of the Sun, it is clear that magnetic braids generated a lot of heat, which is enough to support the fact that the temperature is as high as up to 6 million degrees Celsius.

The scientists from NASA revealed that they had observed the bundle of magnetic fields, which in turn wrapped various other bundles to create magnetic bundle ensemble. The magnetic fields in the ensemble have different kinds of lengths. Also, there may be difference in the rate of curvature along the solo field lines. Some of the fields are curved highly, while the others are curved less.

The magnetic fields were also visible physically within the super-hot plasma that composes the Sun. For example, the highly curved magnetic fields could appear like the coronal loops or the giant arches which rise from the Sun.
The magnetic braids in turn can also grow unbalanced so that the individual magnetic field lines of force can communicate within themselves. This phenomenon is called reconnection and it diminishes the magnetic field’s curvature, which in turn releases huge amount of energy that heats up the plasma or increases the speed of solar flares or other outbursts.

Even though the magnetic braids were visible on the Sun’s surface, but there are not enough ways to find out how common these magnetic braids were in corona. The scientists explained that there was a possibility that the braids being observed were not actually the bundles of magnetic fields but actually the sets of various magnetic loops which were overlying or underlying on each other.

If this was the case, then it was possible that they stored less energy than what it was analysed. Despite all this, the corona of the Sun still held 100 times the amount of energy which needed to be super-heated.

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