70-year-old mystery of how magnetic waves heat the Sun cracked

ScienceDaily | 3/6/2018 | Staff
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The Sun is the source of energy that sustains all life on Earth but much remains unknown about it. However, a group of researchers at Queen's have now unlocked some mysteries in a research paper, which has been published in Nature Physics.

In 1942, Swedish physicist and engineer Hannes Alfvén predicted the existence of a new type of wave due to magnetism acting on a plasma, which led him to obtain the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1970. Since his prediction, Alfvén waves have been associated with a variety of sources, including nuclear reactors, the gas cloud that envelops comets, laboratory experiments, medical MRI imaging and in the atmosphere of our nearest star -- the Sun.

Scientists - Years - Waves - Role - Sun

Scientists have suggested for many years that these waves may play an important role in maintaining the Sun's extremely high temperatures but until now had not been able to prove it.

Dr David Jess from the School of Mathematics and Physics at Queen's University Belfast explains: "For a long time scientists across the globe have predicted that Alfvén waves travel upwards from the solar surface to break in the higher layers, releasing enormous amounts of energy in the form of heat. Over the last decade scientists have been able to prove that the waves exist but until now there was no direct evidence that they had the capability to convert their movement into heat.

Queen - Team - Heat - Alfvén - Waves

"At Queen's, we have now led a team to detect and pinpoint the heat produced by Alfvén waves in a sunspot. This theory was predicted some 75 years ago but...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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