High-resolution images show that the solar corona is filled with large, banana-shaped magnetic structures called coronal loops. It is thought that these coronal loops, some over a few 100,000 km long, play a fundamental role in governing the physics of the corona and are even responsible for huge atmospheric explosions that occur in the atmosphere, what we call solar flares.
These giant magnetic loops have also been observed to undergo periodic (oscillatory) motion, which can be thought of as someone plucking a guitar string (transversal oscillations) or blowing the wind-pipe instrument (longitudinal oscillations). With the length and thickness of the string fixed, the pitch of the note is determined by the tension of the string and the tone is made up of the harmonics of the modes of oscillation.
These musical sounds created by longitudinal vibrations in the Sun's atmosphere have been recorded and accurately studied for the first time at the University of Sheffield using mathematical theory combined with the satellite observations. The solar physicists captured the music on tape and revealed the harmonious sounds are caused by the movement of giant magnetic loops in the solar corona - the outermost, mysterious, and least understood layer of the Suns atmosphere. Most interestingly, the team studied how this sound is decaying, giving an unprecedented insight into the physics of the solar corona.
Video from the Transitional Region and Coronal Explorer, showing eruptions from the solar corona. Credit: TRACE
In this sense, the solar atmosphere is constantly pervaded by the music of the coronal loops. The coronal music also provides scientists with a unique and unprecedented tool to study the magnetic solar atmosphere, as the motion of these loops is determined by their local surroundings. This technique is known as solar magneto-seismology and is very similar to the seismology methods used by geologists studying earthquakes.
Studying this magnetic solar atmosphere will help make further breakthroughs into understanding one of the key and central unresolved problems of modern astrophysics, such as the heating of solar and stellar coronal plasmas and revealing the underlying physical processes.
Are there millions of localized magnetic explosions releasing the energy necessary to maintain the corona at millions of degrees or is the physics related to the numerous waves propagating from the internal regions of the Sun toward its outer regions, reaching even space around the Earth's atmosphere?
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Great Earthquakes Doubled In The Most Recent 10 Year Period - What That Means
- What Americans Fear Most Isn't Ebola Or Terrorism, It's...
- Why Climate 'Uncertainty' Is No Excuse For Doing Nothing
- ECFA Workshop: Planning For The High Luminosity LHC
- Moderate Pot Use By Adolescents Doesn't Hurt IQ
- Cosmic Rays Jeopardize Deep-Space Astronaut Missions
- Dams Are Not The Smart Way To Secure Water For Agriculture
- "Nah. It's not free for the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch. Apple products usually don't play nice with..."
- "http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/vaccines/HPV/index.html says no interesting difference in side..."
- "Tommaso, I fully agree with you that for the moment it would be unwise and unjustified to committ..."
- "Chaos, thanks, I couldn't come up with the word. Well, sure. The article really didn't work to..."
- "So many decisions seem to be made by ISEBYs — in someone else’s back yard. ..."
- Beyond universal donors, some poeple are programed with no blood type at all
- Anti-conventional ag movement spurs Big Ag to look to organic pesticides
- Can people really inherit memories?
- An end to fat shaming? The 50 year DNA mystery of metabolic dysfunction may soon be solved
- Egg freezing: a smart career move?
- Women carry fetal DNA long after children’s birth
- Early palliative care can cut hospital readmissions for cancer patients
- Criminologists try to solve murder mystery: Who will become a killer?
- Researchers record sight neurons in jumping spider brain
- Research suggests team-based care is most effective way to control hypertension
- UNC scientists discover hidden subpopulation of melanoma cells