Saturday, 16 February 2013

Flux Ropes on the Sun

Photonic Space

A stunning NASA image








This is an image of magnetic loops on the sun, captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). It has been processed to highlight the edges of each loop to make the structure more clear.

A series of loops such as this is known as a flux rope, and these lie at the heart of eruptions on the sun known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs.) This is the first time scientists were able to discern the timing of a flux rope's formation. (Blended 131 Angstrom and 171 Angstrom images of July 19, 2012 flare and CME.)

Image Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/SDO


Background

The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) is a NASA mission which will observe the Sun for over five years.[3] Launched on February 11, 2010, the observatory is part of the Living With a Star (LWS) program.[4] The goal of the LWS program is to develop the scientific understanding necessary to effectively address those aspects of the connected SunEarth system that directly affect life and society. SDO's goal is to understand the Sun's influence on Earth and near-Earth space by studying the solar atmosphere on small scales of space and time and in many wavelengths simultaneously. SDO will investigate how the Sun's magnetic field is generated and structured, how this stored magnetic energy is converted and released into the heliosphere and geospace in the form of solar wind, energetic particles, and variations in the solar irradiance.[5]

Photonic Space