Saturday, March 6, 2021

Sun Theory Announced in 2004 Confirmed

Seventeen years ago, astrophysicist J. Martin Laming put forward a theory about the sun: that the chemical composition of the faintest and outermost layer of the Sun was different from the layers below. A pre-publication confirms it.

The solar corona is only visible to our eyes when there is a solar eclipse. Photo taken in Madras, Oregon, during the August 2017 total solar eclipse.

Seventeen years ago, in 2004, astrophysicist J. Martin Laming, of the United States Naval Research Laboratory, put forward a theory about the sun: that the chemical composition of the faintest and outermost layer of the Sun was different from the lower layers. Today, according to the Science Daily portal, his theory was validated through a pre-publication in the arXiv online archive. 


Basically what the new article does is describe how magnetic waves modify the Sun’s chemical composition. A process that, although observed from the optical sciences, is completely new to solar physics.


"It is satisfying to know that the new observations show what is happening under this layer, not only in theory, but in reality," Laming tells his institute’s communications portal.


To better understand what was discovered the first thing is to understand the following: the Sun is composed of several layers. Astronomers have christened the outermost layer as the solar corona which is precisely the one that is only visible to our eyes when there is a solar eclipse. The activity that occurs in the solar corona - such as solar flares, coronal mass ejections, high-speed solar wind and solar energy particles - are produced by solar magnetic fields.


But as Laming explains, these same solar waves, when stuck over deeper solar regions, also change their chemical composition. "In this way, the chemical composition of the corona offers a new way of understanding the waves in the solar atmosphere and new knowledge about the origins of solar activity". (Here: Scientists clarify one of the mysteries of the corona of the Sun)


For Christoph Englert, leader of the US Naval Research Laboratory, there are even more benefits in Laming’s now-proven theory. "We estimate that the Sun is composed of 91% hydrogen, but there are a small fraction of ions such as iron, silicon, or magnesium that dominate the radiation output in ultraviolet and X-rays from the corona. If the abundance of these ions is changing, the radiative charge will also change and it is important for the Earth that we know that information".


Also, according to the laboratory, the discovery could impact objects in orbit. "The Sun also releases high-energy particles that can damage satellites or other objects in space. These are microscopic particles, but their speed can be dangerous for electr equipment

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