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Solar Corona Is Both Hot And Kinky

Solar Alfven Waves
by Staff Writers
Warwick UK (SPX) Mar 09, 2008
Astrophysicists are having a heated debate over the wave structure of the Sun's Corona - a debate which may one day influence solar weather forecasting and the theory behind fusion reactors.

The Sun's core is about 6000 degrees C, but its outer layer, the Corona, which is filled with a strong magnetic field, is 200 to 300 times hotter.

Last year American scientists thought they had cracked this paradox with research showing how high-energy Alfven wave structures could super-heat the Corona.

The astrophysicists said they could detect Alfven waves within the Corona - waves that have a corkscrew motion along the magnetic field at supersonic speed.

They published their results in prestigious journal Science.

However, scientists at the University of Warwick say these are well known and earlier discovered magneto-acoustic kink waves. These, they say, are a better fit for the complex magnetic fields of the Sun's outer layer.

Warwick astrophysicist Dr Tom Van Doorsselaere explains; "We interpret the data differently. They think they're looking at an Alfven wave, but in fact they are looking at Kink wave.

"Kink waves are a bending of the magnetic field, much alike the bending of the string, when playing the guitar.

"Moreover, because the scientists from Boulder Colorado identified the wrong kind of wave all of their subsequent calculations are out. And, sadly, it means the question of why the Corona is hot remains unanswered."

Thee results have published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

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NASA's SDO Mission to Improve Predictions Of Violent Space Weather
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Mar 04, 2008
About 93 million miles from us lies an immense nuclear furnace spanning 100 Earths. In just one second, it produces enough power to supply the entire United States for nine million years. It is the closest star, our sun. Although its light powers almost all life on Earth, the sun has a dark side.







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