Why is the Solar’s environment hotter than its floor? — Olivia, age 9, Canberra
Hello Olivia, that’s a fantastic query! Actually, it’s such a fantastic query many scientists around the globe try to reply it.
The reality of the matter is — we don’t know! However we do have some concepts about the place the power that heats the Solar’s environment may be coming from, and it has quite a bit to do with the Solar’s magnetic discipline. Let me clarify what this implies.
The temperature of the Solar
Warmth is created within the very centre of the Solar, at its core, the place the temperature is a blistering 27 million levels Celsius. And identical to strolling away from a campfire, the temperature will get cooler additional away from the core.
The temperature of the Solar’s floor is about 6,000℃, which suggests it’s a lot cooler than the core. Additionally, it continues to chill down for a brief distance above the floor.
However greater above the floor, within the environment, the temperature immediately shoots as much as greater than one million levels! So there have to be one thing that’s heating the Solar’s environment. However we will’t simply discover out what it’s.
The hot button is the Solar’s magnetic discipline
The main concept amongst consultants is the Solar’s magnetic discipline is definitely bringing power from contained in the Solar up by way of its floor and into its environment.
Like Earth, the Solar has a magnetic discipline. We are able to think about a magnetic discipline as invisible strains connecting the North and South poles of a star or planet.
We are able to’t see magnetic fields, however we all know they’re there as a result of we have now objects that react to them. For instance, a compass needle on Earth will all the time level to the North pole as a result of it strains up with Earth’s magnetic discipline.
Whereas the Solar additionally has a North and South pole, its magnetic discipline behaves otherwise to Earth’s and appears quite a bit messier. On the floor of the Solar, the magnetic discipline strains appear to be many loops rising up out of the floor into the environment — and these loops are altering on a regular basis.
If the loops contact one another they will trigger sudden explosions of huge quantities of power that warmth up the environment. We additionally know there are waves travelling alongside the magnetic discipline strains bringing power up. Might they be chargeable for heating the environment?
Is it a mix of the waves and the explosions, or one thing else altogether? With the ability to measure the Solar’s magnetic discipline would actually assist us perceive what’s happening.
Measuring the magnetic discipline
Magnetic fields could also be invisible, however we will nonetheless measure them as a result of they make small modifications to the sunshine that comes from the Solar. The floor of the Solar may be very brilliant, so it’s straightforward to see modifications within the mild coming from the floor, and measure the magnetic discipline there.
However the Solar’s environment is so sizzling the sunshine there’s not seen anymore. Reasonably it makes X-rays, that are a kind of sunshine we will’t see! Even when we use particular X-ray telescopes, the X-rays from the Solar’s environment are too dim for us to determine what the magnetic discipline within the environment appears like.
The excellent news is there’s a model new satellite tv for pc, NASA’s Parker Photo voltaic Probe, which is now orbiting near the Solar (however not too shut) and truly flying by way of the magnetic discipline to measure it. We ought to be receiving quite a lot of thrilling new info from it over the subsequent 5 years.
These magnetic discipline measurements will convey us nearer to understanding what’s making the environment of the Solar, and different stars, a lot hotter than their floor.
Curious Youngsters: how does the Solar make such fairly colors at sunsets and sunrises?