Tech UPTechnologyThe Sun's magnetic field is ten times more powerful...

The Sun's magnetic field is ten times more powerful than previously thought

The Sun’s magnetic field extends beyond Pluto. On Earth, living beings do not notice its influence, since we have been under it since the origins of the planet itself.

The polarity of the magnetic field, also called the heliosphere, changes approximately every 11 years. Although scientists have been measuring these changes since 1976, new research from Queen’s University Belfast and Aberystwyth University has found that the Sun’s magnetic field is ten times stronger than previously believed.

A discovery that has been favored, surprisingly, by a stroke of luck. Until now, successful magnetic field measurement has been hampered by the weak signal from the solar atmosphere reaching Earth and limitations in available instrumentation. Understanding the Sun’s magnetic field has many limitations: it would be like trying to understand the Earth’s climate without being able to measure its temperature in various geographic locations.

However, the team was able to determine the strength of the flare’s magnetic field with unprecedented precision , as described in the study:

Over a 10-day period in September 2017, Dr. Kuridze studied an active area on the Sun’s surface that the team knew was particularly volatile.

However, the telescope used can only focus on 1% of the Sun’s surface at any given time. But the team was focused on exactly the right area and at the right time when the solar flare erupted.

/ Queen’s University Belfast.

Dr. David Kuridze, lead author of the study, has explained the relevance of this research in the current knowledge we have of our star king :

“This is the first time that we have been able to accurately measure the magnetic field of the coronal loops, the building blocks of the Sun’s magnetic corona, with such a high level of precision.”

How does the Sun’s magnetic field affect us?

With an area of ​​1,400,000 kilometers (109 times larger than Earth) and at a distance of 150,000,000 kilometers from Earth, the Sun’s corona extends millions of kilometers above the surface.

Everything that happens in the Sun’s outer atmosphere is dominated by the magnetic field, but we have very few measurements of its strength and spatial characteristics. Therefore, the researchers believe that the newly discovered findings have the potential to change our understanding of the processes that occur in the immediate atmosphere of the Sun.

Among other things, the Sun’s magnetic field is responsible for the confinement of the solar plasma, which constitutes solar flares , up to 20,000 kilometers above the solar surface. Solar flares appear as bright flashes and occur when magnetic energy that has built up in the solar atmosphere is suddenly released.

These solar flares can lead to storms that, if they hit Earth, form the Northern Lights.

They can also disrupt communications satellites and GPS systems, as demonstrated in September 2017.

More information: D. Kuridze et al. Mapping the magnetic field of flare coronal loops. arXiv: 1902.07514 [astro-ph.SR].

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