A new approach to analyzing the evolution of magnetic entanglements on the Sun has led to a breakthrough in a long-running debate about how solar energy is injected into the solar atmosphere before being released into space, causing weather events in space. The first direct evidence that field lines become knotted before they appear on the visible surface of the Sun has implications for our ability to predict the behavior of active regions and the nature of the Sun’s interior. Dr Christopher Pryor of the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Durham University will present the work today at the Virtual National Astronomy Meeting (NAM 2021).
Researchers generally agree that solar activity results from instability in the giant fluctuations of the magnetic ropes connecting the visible surface of the Sun, known as the photosphere. However, there has been an ongoing debate about how these entanglements form. The two dominant theories have suggested either that field line coils emerge through the photosphere from the convective region below, or that the arched feet of field lines wrap around each other on the same surface and create braids. Both mechanisms could theoretically produce effects such as sunspot rotation and dramatic solar flares, but so far, neither scenario has conclusively supported any direct observational evidence.
Prior and colleagues from the University of Glasgow and INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania in Italy have come up with a new direct measurement of magnetic field entanglement by tracing the rotation of field lines at the points where they intersect with the photosphere. This “magnetic coil” should appear in different ways for each of the two theories. Thus, applying magnetic spin to photosphere observations and examining the resulting patterns can enable a definitive answer to the correct theory.
The researchers studied the magnetic spins of ten active regions on the Sun in their observations via solar missions. In each case, the results matched the theory of the appearance of pre-twisted magnetic field lines rising from the convective region.
He previously explains, “The pattern of the previously twisted field lines exactly matches the observational data we initially considered, and since then this has been found to be true for all datasets of active regions we have looked at so far. We anticipate that the magnetic coil will become a fundamental quantity in Interpretation of magnetic field structure from observational data”.
The CLASP2 sounding rocket demonstrates the solar magnetic field
MacTaggart, D., Prior, C., Raphaldini, B., Romano, P., & Guglielmino, S. (2021). Direct evidence: The appearance of the twisted flux tube creates solar active regions. arXiv Primer Reprint: 2106.11638.
Pryor, C., and MacTaggart, D. (2020). Magnetic coil: what is it and what is valid?. Proceedings of the Royal Society A, 476 (2242), 20200483.
Presented by the Royal Astronomical Society
the quote: Solving the Complex Problem of Sun Activity (2021, July 21) Retrieved July 21, 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-07-unraveling-knotty-problem-sun.html
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