Spanish instrument reveals how magnetic structures in the Sun are born and evolve

Jul 03, 2014

The IMaX magnetograph, an instrument entirely developed in Spain, has revealed how flux tubes are formed and evolve in the Sun. These tubes are considered to be the building blocks of solar magnetism but their existence had only heretofore been demonstrated indirectly due to their small size. The incomparably high resolution yielded by the SUNRISE mission has for the first time made it possible to follow one of them, and it turned out to be different from what had been suggested until now.

IMaX was designed to overcome one of the major challenges facing astrophysics today, the , which manifests itself in many different forms, such as the eleven year cycle, sunspots or . Today, it is considered the key to a deeper understanding of the Sun, to predicting its behaviour and to assessing to what extent it will affect us. Magnetic flux tubes, with a size of a few hundred kilometres, are essential to the picture because large structures such as sunspots are made up of smaller elements.

Seen at a scale of one thousand kilometres, the surface of the Sun seems to be governed by granulation, a convective phenomenon similar to the bubbling of boiling water: low density hot gas rises to the surface; as it cools off, its density increases and the gas descends again.

"Among the granules we find weak magnetic field concentrations," says Iker S. Requerey, researcher at the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC) and first author of the study. The granules converge around a centre towards which they drag the small fields, which then agglomerate and intensify, giving rise to a magnetic flux tube."

In this first phase, reckoned in theory but observed for the first time in the course of this study, the tube displays low magnetic energy. However, since the magnetic field inhibits convection, the gas inside the tube cools off and descends, which causes the tube to contract and increase the intensity of the .

"It seemed like the development of the tubes ended there, but we have discovered that they are unstable structures," says Jose Carlos del Toro Iniesta, supervisor of Requerey's PhD thesis. The twenty-three minute time series obtained by IMaX/Sunrise shows that the tube displays an oscillatory behaviour, gaining and losing intensity with time. "Not only have we been able to observe that sequence for the first time, but we have also found an ulterior, unknown phase which deserves to be studied," Del Toro concludes.

Explore further: Discovering a hidden source of solar surges

More information: I. S. Requerey "The history of a quiet-Sun magnetic element revealed by IMAX/SUNRISE". Astronomy & Astrophysics. DOI: stacks.iop.org/0004-637X/789/6

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User comments : 21

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thermodynamics
3.3 / 5 (7) Jul 04, 2014
Where are the EU morons who will be jumping on this thread to talk about how ignorant astrophysicists are. What is taking them so long?
no fate
1 / 5 (6) Jul 04, 2014
Where are the EU morons who will be jumping on this thread to talk about how ignorant astrophysicists are. What is taking them so long?


Well, I'm not an EU moron but since I agree with how ignorant they know mainstream THEORETICAL astrophysicists are, here you go:

This is so wrong I WAS going to let it go...

"the gas inside the tube cools off and descends, which causes the tube to contract and increase the intensity of the magnetic field."

It isn't gas...it is plasma. An increase in the flux density of a magnetic field will accelerate plasma, which heats it, cooling it doesn't increase the intensity of the magnetic field. Also, magnetic flux is unaffected by temperature so a magnetic structure will not contract due to thermal cooling of the material inside it.

Ignorant astrophysicists.
cantdrive85
1.7 / 5 (6) Jul 04, 2014
Where are the EU morons who will be jumping on this thread to talk about how ignorant astrophysicists are. What is taking them so long?

No need to point out the obvious, one only need to read the article to see how moronic they sound. You know, comments such as;
"The granules converge around a centre towards which they drag the small fields, which then agglomerate and intensify, giving rise to a magnetic flux tube."

Magnetic fields don't gain strength through agglomeration, they gain strength when the current density of the electric current that creates the magnetic field increases.

As Alfven said,
"Students using astrophysical textbooks remain essentially ignorant of even the existence of plasma concepts, despite the fact that some of them have been known for half a century. The conclusion is that astrophysics is too important to be left in the hands of astrophysicists who have gotten their main knowledge from these textbooks. Earthbound and space telescope data must be treated by scientists who are familiar with laboratory and magnetospheric physics and circuit theory, and of course with modern plasma theory. "

And so it goes...
Captain Stumpy
4.3 / 5 (6) Jul 06, 2014
As Alfven said,
@cant remember
alfie said that how long ago? 40?
and how many times have I shown you that this is NOT TRUE here on phys.org? at least 20?
and how many college curriculum did you research to show that this is true? NONE!
Astrophysicists MUST learn plasma physics, whereas your idiot EU engineers don't learn ASTROPHYSICS.
I know you will not be honest, and admit to being told this already in the past so I will post YET AGAIN that you are A LIAR and that your continual posting that BS line above is nothing but an attempt to spread your stupidity.

http://www.pppl.gov/

you can also goto MIT and see where astrophysicists learn plasma physics... or any other astrophysics curriculum. but i know you will not.
thermodynamics
4 / 5 (4) Jul 06, 2014
TCS: I hate to point out the obvious to you, but I feel I must remind you that Cantdrive85 is educationally challenged. He rides in the short yellow bus back and forth to his "school." Sometimes he forgets to take his meds and he winds up watching patterns in the sky that he thinks are giant electric bats that fly through the night and fart magneto-vortex-framagigs. He then has to invoke the stupidity of everyone else or he would have to accept that he has swallowed a significant amount of bilge-water from those at the EU sites. Just let him rant until he can take his meds and tighten his tin-foil hat.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (3) Jul 06, 2014
alfie said that how long ago? 40?

I know you're stupid and can barely count let alone think for yourself, but the last time I checked 1986 is not 40yrs ago.
http://www.diva-p...XT01.pdf

and how many times have I shown you that this is NOT TRUE here on phys.org? at least 20?

Not once, linking to a random website that has plasma in the title and which the only blurb about astrophysical plasma includes pseudoscience in no way shows that Alfven is wrong. All one needs to do is read the nonsense above about agglomerating magnetic fields to see Alfven's claim are as true today as they were 18 years ago. BTW, I nor Alfven ever claimed astros don't learn plasma physics, they learn theoretical plasma physics such as MHD models rather than the real phenomena of electric discharge in gases that have been developed in the lab since Birkeland and Langmuir many decades ago. I know you are not capable of understanding the difference, made perfectly obvious with your continual references to pseudo nonsense.
Captain Stumpy
4.3 / 5 (6) Jul 06, 2014
but the last time I checked
@cd
and the last time I checked, your stupid comment was INVALID as astrophysicists MUST learn plasma physics in order to graduate... SEE ANY curriculum for proof... AND according to alfie's own words on YOUR link
Earth bound and space telescope data must be treated by scientists who are familiar with laboratory and magnetospheric physics and circuit theory, and of course with modern plasma theory
[sic]
which means ASTROPHYSICISTS, because, astrophysicists HAVE TO LEARN PLASMA PHYSICS, whereas engineers DON'T learn ASTROPHYSICS (again, you've only supported what I've been saying to you)

IOW - it proves you are blatantly ignoring empirical data and posting (and re-posting) an obvious LIE which is only supported by the delusional mindset of the EU acolytes

to be cont'd
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (3) Jul 06, 2014
The real irony with Cap'n Stupidity is Ol' Timmy Thompson is his standard reference in debunking the EU, yet Ol' Timmy refuses to acknowledge plasma is a distinct state of matter in direct conflict of the very organization he likes to use to show how Alfven is incorrect. From PPPL;
"Plasma is a state of matter along with solids, liquids and gases. It consists of a partially-ionized gas, containing ions, electrons, and neutral atoms."

http://www.pppl.g...20plasma

"Plasma is often called a 4th state of matter, but it in fact is no such thing; calling it that is a very bad idea, because people like you are likely to take the words too literally and thus draw the usual very wrong conclusions."

http://phys.org/n...html#jCp

Talk about drawing the wrong conclusions. What rubes both of you are...
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (4) Jul 06, 2014
cnt'd
linking to a random website
and I've linked to MIT curriculum in the past... that is not a random site... and the link above is NOT random, but PROVES that astrophysicists learn plasma physics just by reading the page and looking at the informaiton in it, like
Laboratory scientists are collaborating with researchers on fusion science and technology at other facilities, both domestic and foreign. Staff are applying knowledge gained in fusion research to a number of theoretical and experimental areas including materials science, solar physics, chemistry, and manufacturing.
but maybe that was too hard for you to find? next time I shall type slower 'cause I know you can't read well...
then there is http://www.pppl.g...ophysics
which has ENGINEERS AND ASTROPHYSICISTS working side by side... but you dont believe in reconnection... that is taboo in your religion... to bad it is REAL and a part of REALITY, proven and observed!
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (4) Jul 06, 2014
CAP'N CAPS LOCK/STUPIDITY,
You're incapable of even recognizing what Alfven was stating, and incapable of understanding the difference of theoretical models and those based upon real laboratory research. Astros use the former, Alfven's models use the latter, catch up there Einstein.
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 06, 2014
I nor Alfven ever claimed astros don't learn plasma physics, they learn theoretical plasma physics such as MHD models rather than the real phenomena of electric discharge in gases that have been developed in the lab since Birkeland and Langmuir many decades ago
@cd
and if you will read the site I linked, you would realise that you are continuing to post a known LIE in an attempt to push a known pseudoscience

astrophysicists learn from publications that come from http://www.pppl.gov/about/learn-more/magnetic-reconnection" title="http://http://www.pppl.gov/about/learn-more/magnetic-reconnection" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">http://www.pppl.g...nnection every bit as much as they learn from lab work themselves... it is PART of the CURRICULUM... which, again, only proves that you are an idiot posting a blatant lie.
SEE http://www.pppl.gov/ for more details... did you forget that these guys work right alongside engineers?
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (4) Jul 06, 2014
You're incapable of even recognizing what Alfven was stating, and incapable of understanding the difference of theoretical models and those based upon real laboratory research.
@cd
so, now you are saying that http://www.pppl.gov/ is theoretical and NOT laboratory research?
REALLY??!!
wow... I didnt think you were that stupid. but I guess I can be wrong about that one... you really ARE that stupid.
astro's use the latter, moron. that is why PPPL as well as other plasma physics labs are there: TO PROVIDE EMPIRICAL DATA TO STUDENTS AND PROVE STUDIES, etc..
IOW - the astro's of today USE THE SAME THING THAT ENGINEER'S USE

try reading up on some of the schools, sparky. you might learn something. oh, and BTW - engineers take the same plasma physics classes that astro's do... try looking at schools that actually teach and forget about thunderbutts claims which are blatant lies
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (4) Jul 06, 2014
CAP'N CAPS LOCK/STUPIDITY,
You're incapable of even recognizing what Alfven was stating, and incapable of understanding the difference of theoretical models and those based upon real laboratory research. Astros use the former, Alfven's models use the latter, catch up there Einstein.
the funniest thing about this quote is that YOU ACTUALLY BELIEVE IT!

if you had bothered to look at ANY of the links I've left before on this issue, you would have seen that MIT, Princeton, and all the biggest astrophysics schools TEACH THE SAME CLASSES to the astrophysics students... the difference being that Astro's learn about a load of other stuff that EE's DONT learn about, which makes THEIR models lacking as the do NOT take into consideration the things that are needed to produce a correct model/hypothesis... which is why your EE's at eu are idiots and why thy will never do a public debate.

so, spark boy... your posts have NO credibility... nice try
cantdrive85
2 / 5 (4) Jul 06, 2014
all the biggest astrophysics schools TEACH THE SAME CLASSES to the astrophysics students...

You finally make a true statement, and that is why the model in this article;
http://phys.org/n...ric.html

is the first of it kind...Because "all the astrophysicists" are taught the same false knowledge to ignore the electrical implications of plasma.
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (4) Jul 06, 2014
Because "all the astrophysicists" are taught the same false knowledge to ignore the electrical implications of plasma
@CD
so now you are also saying that your idiot engineers are ALSO learning wrong physics? You can't have it both ways, spark-boy. from your linked article
Our model is the first to provide detailed, two-dimensional views of the complex interaction between solar activity and small objects like asteroids, using an adaptive computational technique that makes these simulations highly efficient,
and why?
NASA is developing plans to send humans to an asteroid, and wants to know more about the electrical environment explorers will encounter there
IOW - they're not suporting EU, sparky, they're
applying the most resources to areas with lots of complex activity, while devoting less to areas that are simpler

looks to me like astrophysicists are going to make it run faster based upon plasma physics, like I SAID ABOVE

Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (4) Jul 06, 2014
more about your link @cd
and that plasma physics is based upon observation
The model shows that the solar wind flow at a small asteroid displays some phenomena that have been observed directly at the moon, giving confidence in its results. For example, a well-developed cloud of electrons ejected by sunlight forms on the asteroid's sunlit surface, while a low density supersonic wake streams behind the object in the solar wind flow
and it will also be tested to verify that it is accurate
as with any computer model, these elements will have to be verified by actual measurements from future missions to asteroids
which is something that your EU propaganda religion does NOT do! They cannot verify most of the crap they post... so what we have here is:
Astrophysicists - WIN/WIN
EU - losers

nice try sparky
you still support pseudoscience and no amount of double talk will help you with that
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (3) Jul 06, 2014
so now you are also saying that your idiot engineers are ALSO learning wrong physics? You can't have it both ways, spark-boy.


EE's understand circuit theory, astrophysicists are not taught it in their curriculum and do not. EE's use MHD for very specific phenomena, astros use MHD for nearly every astrophysical plasma model.

and why?

When it really matters, even NASA knows they can't ignore the obvious.

looks to me like astrophysicists are going to make it run faster based upon plasma physics

Using models developed by EE's...

which is something that your EU propaganda religion does NOT do! They cannot verify most of the crap they post


Let's give everyone a chance, problem is gravity only BBers have control over NASA equipment.

Astrophysicists - WIN/WIN
EU - losers


Pretty childish for someone so old.

you still support pseudoscience

No, 'fraid not. I don't support field line reification like you do.

thermodynamics
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 06, 2014
Cantdrive: Since one of the the objectives of the Voyager craft is to look at electrical and magnetic effects in at the edges of the solar system, what have they found that boosts the EU view? From what I have seen, there is evidence of neutrality in the plasma and weak magnetic fields as would be expected in the standard astrophysical model. Why are those astrophysicists that started out to examine the plasma along the way wrong?
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (2) Jul 06, 2014
what have they found that boosts the EU view?

A number of things, contrary to the standard model. As a matter of fact, when Voyager returned data the NASA scientists responded by saying;
The data "came as a surprise" and mentioned "All theoretical models have been found wanting" and "left them without a working model for the outer solar system". Weird

The Electric Sun model however match the data.
http://electric-c...2012.pdf

From what I have seen, there is evidence of neutrality in the plasma and weak magnetic fields as would be expected in the standard astrophysical model.

Seems you are seeing what you want, whereas the actual scientists involved mention things like;
"What is really missing here is our understanding of the physics"

The data fits very well with the ES model though;
http://www.holosc...erified/

https://www.youtu...Il-JaUUc

They admit they're wrong, oddly you see it as them being correct...
thermodynamics
4.3 / 5 (6) Jul 06, 2014
Cant: You have said that the NASA data was unusual and reinforced the EU view. However, you only gave me EU references (hardly something to hang your hat on). However, if I go to the NASA site for plasma information they indicate the opposite.

http://ppi.pds.na...0Cruise)

Can you please point out where NASA has made the statements boosting the EU perspective instead of the EU folks saying they did? Let us have some primary sources please.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (2) Jul 07, 2014
I didn't say it was unusual, it was stated it was unexpected and didn't fit the "standard" model, by NASA scientists.
Here is the original article released on Livescience.com;
http://www.livesc...tem.html

However, you only gave me EU references


Who do you expect to offer this info? NASA scientists who are confused by the data? How about the banking lobby?

However, if I go to the NASA site


There's data, where exactly do they indicate the opposite?

Can you please point out where NASA has made the statements boosting the EU perspective instead of the EU folks saying they did?


They are likely not even aware of the EU model, they are too busy trying to rewrite their own theories and "predictions" to match the data.