January 23, 2013
NASA held a media teleconference on Wednesday, Jan. 23rd, to discuss new observations of a large active region in the Sun’s atmosphere called the corona.
A discovery made by NASA’s High-Resolution Coronal Imager, or Hi-C, has revealed surprising magnetic ‘braids’ of super-hot matter in the Sun’s outer atmosphere which is suggested to be the cause of why the Sun’s atmosphere is hotter than its surface.
Jonathan Cirtain, a solar astrophysicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center said: “With potential annual economic impacts of tens to hundreds of billions of dollars domestically during periods of high solar activity, accurate forecasts of the local space weather environment can possibly save billions for power systems, commercial aircraft and a number of other economic sectors [such as extreme weather events]”
1 KELVIN = 458 degrees Fahrenheit or 272 degrees Celsius
These magnetic fields are physically manifested within
The Making of Solar Flares, CMEs, and Coronal Holes
When a magnetic field becomes highly curved, it eventually becomes unstable. Eventually these magnetic ‘braids’ can grow unstable enough for individual magnetic field lines of force to interact within them. This phenomenon, known as reconnection, decreases the curvature of the magnetic field, releasing potentially vast amounts of energy that can heat plasma or accelerate solar flares and other massive outbursts.
The team of researchers hopes to launch their telescope in an orbital satellite to observe the corona longer.