January 23, 2013

by Mitch Battros – Earth Changes Media

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.

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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]”

The Sun’s surface can reach a scorching temperature of 5,700 degrees Kelvin, but the Sun’s atmosphere “corona” can reach temperatures of up to 4,000,000,000 degrees Kelvin. Cirtain states: “What we have observed is a bundle of magnetic fields, wrapped about several other bundles to form a magnetic bundle ensemble.”


1 KELVIN = 458 degrees Fahrenheit or 272 degrees Celsius

These magnetic fields are physically manifested within

the super-hot plasma making up the Sun. For instance, very highly curved magnetic fields can take the form of coronal loops, giant arches rising from the Sun.


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.