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Previously Unseen Super-Hot Plasma Jets Heat the Sun’s Corona

Multiwavelength extreme ultraviolet image of the Sun taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory's Atmospheric Imaging Assembly. Colours represent different gas temperatures: ~800,000 Kelvin (blue), ~1.3 million K (green), and ~2 million K (red). New observations reveal jets of hot plasma propelled upwards from the region immediately above the Sun's surface. Image: Bart De Pontieu)

The mystery of the Sun’s corona may finally be solved. For years researchers have known – and wondered why – the Sun’s outer atmosphere, or corona, is considerably hotter than its surface. But now, using the combined visual powers of NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and Japan’s Hinode satellite, scientists have made direct observations of jets of plasma shooting off the Sun’s surface, heating the corona to millions of degrees. The existence of these small, narrow jets of plasma, called spicules has long been known, but they had never been directly studied before and were thought to be too cool to have any appreciable heating effect. But a good look with new “eyes” reveals a new kind of spicule that moves energy from the Sun’s interior to create its hot outer atmosphere.

“Heating of spicules to millions of degrees has never been directly observed, so their role in coronal heating had been dismissed as unlikely,” says Bart De Pontieu, the lead author and a solar physicist at LMSAL.


Solar physicst and former Universe Today writer Ian O’Neill (and current Discovery Space producer, and of Astroengine fame) compared the anomaly of the Sun’s atmosphere being hotter than the surface to if the air surrounding a light bulb was a couple of magnitudes hotter than the bulb’s surface. And, he said, you’d want to know why it appears the solar atmosphere is breaking all kinds of thermodynamic laws.

Over the years, experts have proposed a variety of theories, and as De Pontieu said, the spicule theory had been dismissed when it was found spicule plasma did not reach coronal temperatures.

Solar spicules as imaged by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. Credit: NASA

But In 2007, De Pontieu and a group of researchers identified a new class of spicules that moved much faster and were shorter lived than the traditional spicules. These “Type II” spicules shoot upward at high speeds, often in excess of 60 miles per second (100 kilometers per second), before disappearing. The rapid disappearance of these jets suggested that the plasma they carried might get very hot, but direct observational evidence of this process was missing.

Enter SDO and its Atmospheric Imaging Assembly instrument which launched in February 2010, along with NASA’s Focal Plane Package for the Solar Optical Telescope (SOT) on the Japanese Hinode satellite.

“The high spatial and temporal resolution of the newer instruments was crucial in revealing this previously hidden coronal mass supply,” said Scott McIntosh, a solar physicist at NCAR’s High Altitude Observatory. “Our observations reveal, for the first time, the one-to-one connection between plasma that is heated to millions of degrees kelvin and the spicules that insert this plasma into the corona.”

The spicules are accelerated upward into the solar corona in fountain-like jets at speeds of approximately 31 to 62 miles per second (50 to 100 kilometers per second). The research team says that the majority of the plasma is heated to temperatures between 0.02 and 0.1 million Kelvin, while a small fraction is heated to temperatures above one million Kelvin.

A key step in learning more about the Sun, according to De Pontieu, will be to better understand the interface region between the Sun’s visible surface, or photosphere, and its corona. Another NASA mission, the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS), is scheduled for launch in 2012. IRIS will provide high-fidelity data on the complex processes and enormous contrasts of density, temperature, and magnetic field between the photosphere and corona. Researchers hope this will reveal more about the spicule heating and launch mechanisms.
This research appears in the 07 January issue of Science.

Sources: Science, Astroengine

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • iantresman January 7, 2011, 7:30 AM

    DrFlimmer wrote: “how these mini jets are launched”

    You make a good point. Just how do we identify a mechanism from an observation? Do we have to rely on analogies elsewhere? Certainly there are many examples of astrophysical jets, not just associated with quasars, but I would argue that terrestrial examples would include lightning, sprite, blue jets and tigers.

    Are we sure of any mechanism which is the cause of any astrophysical jet?

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb January 7, 2011, 11:59 AM

      What a deliberate specious argument. If it is doubt you seek, much of it is already among the plasma cosmology or electric universe pseudo-science mumbo-jumbo rather than established observational data that disproves its total nonsense. Here you implausibly consider the old stupid argument that all this is scaleable, from earth to the whole universe, when there is absolutely not one shred or piece of evidence that it is.

      It is the fundamental and great falsehood shrouded in deliberate lies and deceit that is most offensive here — to the extent that the idiotic notions should be permanently censored.

      One thing where there is no doubt from actual observation (proved time and time again), that fools like you and your elk no absolutely zip on astrophysical phenomena.

      As for “Are we sure of any mechanism which is the cause of any astrophysical jet?” Well one things for sure, your flawed explanations by a bunch of mere electricians playing with voltage is far away from the reductionism of real science like astrophysics.

      Frankly. You should keep your feeble skills in changing light bulbs and let the real scientists do what they are best at. I.e. To identify a mechanism from an observation.

      So stop being a total fool and grow up for once!

      • iantresman January 7, 2011, 1:22 PM

        Is that be best you can do? Jump into a discussion, change the subject completely, put words into my mouth, and throw insults around?

        You are disrespectful, not only to me, but to everyone else reading this blog. All very big of you, hiding behind a pseudonym.

        • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb January 7, 2011, 2:28 PM

          Oh dear, pulling out the old victim card again… Sorry i’ve played with you so many times before, and you still don’t get it.

          No. Enough is enough. Those here now know better and are feed up to the back teeth of the constant preaching of wrong and misleading science from people who have a known and deliberate agenda. I, and others, have played this same old game again and again. Our responses have become so highly tuned that the same old words of the EU/PC rhetoric is now leaking like a sieve. It use to be amusing and a little bit of sport, but now it is just so utterly boring. So the only thing left to do is to immediately short-circuit the nonsense before the claptrap starts again.
          Me hiding behind a pseudonym should be the least of your concerns.
          Ask deliberate dumb questions, and you get exactly what you deserve!

          • iantresman January 7, 2011, 3:34 PM

            I’m sorry that I am not as smart as you, in being able to ask clever questions. I’m sure you inspire confidence in other visitors to this blog, who also have silly questions too. I had teachers like you at school, who belittled their pupils, and wondered why none of them spoke up.

            Due to your friendly attitude, and my principle of standing up to bullies, you have made me decide to return the the blog more regularly.

            I also thank you for reminding me that one person alone, and an anonymous self-righteous one at that, does not decide what is right or wrong is science, and if it wasn’t for the diversity of disciplines, some of the greatest breakthroughs in science may never have been made.

            Thank you for your encouragement.

          • Torbjorn Larsson OM January 8, 2011, 4:22 AM

            Just how do we identify a mechanism from an observation?

            Good question. By science, of course!

            No, really, it is open ended. The best way is to look for mechanisms that it can’t be, because they can be removed from the table. And yes, here the “EU” comes to mind.

            Other ways can be to look for parameter variation, to make best fit among remaining competitors. Here, as well as above, more (model-driven) observation makes for better “resolution”. (Literary “resolving” power!)

            I’m sure you inspire confidence in other visitors to this blog, who also have silly questions too.

            Everyone has their areas where they are beginners, so we can all relate.

            And here is the thing: yes, expertise and shown ability to separate tendentious trash from “silly questions” do inspire confidence!

            [Disclaimer: I'm probably as fed up by religious fanatics spewing dogma within science, of all things for crying out loud, as HSBC is. So I'm taking this opportunity to rant against the dogmatic machine, with both hands!]

            And who in their right mind have ever entertained the notion that there are “silly questions”? There is no such thing! All honest questions are a treasure, because being able to make them, understand them and answer them advance knowledge.

            On the other hand there exist “silly questioners” who troll and trot old and silly beliefs in the form of repeated tendentious “questions” that have been asked and answered many times before! Those are not questions but spewed dogma. There is no curiosity there, no wish to understand, but an attempt to confirm beliefs.

            Look for example on this guy who is motivated by “standing up to bullies”. Whatever has that to do with science, and what would such a person contribute to a serious discussion?

            And once again “EU” comes to mind.

            you have made me decide to return the the blog more regularly.

            Do you realize, somewhere in the massive cognitive dissonance you are slaving under, that this “rare and rarefied encouragement” is typical of trolls and pseudoscience believers both?

            As with the psychology of the fly fisher, the rare feedback of whatever form (dropped or caught fishes) makes the elusive goal so much more desired. Unfortunately this tenacity can be enslaved by mind parasites like religion, which is the kind of group-think dogma a pseudoscientist is lured by.

            “Plasma is everything! Look at my pattern recognition skilz! I can see plasma in everything, so: “Plasma is everything! Look at my pattern recognition skilz! I can …”” in infinite stupefying mind eating regress.

          • Torbjorn Larsson OM January 8, 2011, 4:51 AM

            Also, another obvious characteristic of the religious nature of pseudoscience is the insistence of “gee wiz” phenomena as important.

            I.e. what motivates the pseudoscientist (besides empty fantasies of recognition, et cetera) is the feeling that if something is complicated, preferably too complicated, to understand immediately it is somehow important. This makes gods/plasmas the rulers of the universe, apparently.

            And that is so embarrassingly stupid! We don’t learn the basics of biology, evolution, by looking at humans and their cognitive abilities (say), even though creationists takes home from that that there must be “a soul” and that this makes biology controlled by gods/information.

    • DrFlimmer January 8, 2011, 5:44 AM

      Actually, I am quite confident that astrophysicists know that some jets are similar to each other. For example, jets from quasars, micro-quasars and T Tauri stars. Those jets are a (necessary) by-product of the accretion process. Not all details are understood yet, but the basic models work quite fine,

      Since “lightnings, sprites, etc” are not related to accretion it is likely that the cause and mechanism is quite different, so one cannot use them to explain quasars.

      Neither can one use these mini-jets of the sun, since, as I said before, they are probably related to and powered by reconnection events deep inside the sun.

      • iantresman January 8, 2011, 6:32 AM

        @Torbjorn Larsson

        Thank you for your detailed reply, I agree with much you say, but disagree with the some. My original post had nothing to do with EU or PC, despite what others might claim. Suggestion an analogy between spicules and terrestrial lightning, is no different to suggesting an analogy with quasars.

        @DrFlimmer
        Thank you, the first sensible reply. It begs two question. (1) What is the evidence that spicules may be due to magnetic reconnection (not that I dispute it), and (2) Doesn’t that beg the

        • iantresman January 8, 2011, 6:33 AM

          (why is there no option to edit messages?)

          ..begs the question, what causes magnetic reconnection?

          • iantresman January 8, 2011, 7:26 AM

            Crumb wrote: “If you already think this, then why the hell are you asking this question when you already know the answer?”

            Questioning one’s beliefs is a good practice, by all good scientists.

            Crumb wrote: “This heating is probably caused by some violent process of magnetic reconnection”

            Is there evidence for this, or an educated guess?

          • iantresman January 8, 2011, 9:24 AM

            Crumb wrote: “Are you illiterate as well?

            “illiterate” refers to someone who is unable to read or write. I think you are referring to comprehension.

            Regardless of the meaning of the word “probably”, you must have reason to state that the “heating is probably caused by some violent process of magnetic reconnection”. I’m not asking for an absolute, just some basic science.

            Crumb wrote: “So your not talking about OTHERS beliefs here, you are now talking about YOUR OWN beliefs!”

            I mentioned “one’s” belief; that is not just my belief, but everyone’s beliefs.

            To quote William Hazlitt: “The origin of all science is the desire to know causes, and the origin of all false science and imposture is the desire to accept false causes rather than none; or, which is the same thing, in the unwillingness to acknowledge our own ignorance.”

          • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb January 8, 2011, 6:50 AM

            As I said before;
            “This heating is probably caused by some violent process of magnetic reconnection, and it is likely occurring well inside the sun at some boundary layer where the plasma goes from random turbulent state (like the core) to one where the electrons become organised and generate the electrical currents for the field.”

            Yet you do already profess such knowledge, don’t you; I.e. “This difficulty in reconnecting magnetic field lines makes it possible to store energy by moving the fluid or the source of the magnetic field. The energy can then become available if the conditions for ideal MHD break down, allowing magnetic reconnection that releases the stored energy from the magnetic field.”

            If you already think this, then why the hell are you asking this question when you already know the answer?

            More stupid mind games eh? As I have said; “Ask deliberate dumb questions, and you get exactly what you deserve!”

          • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb January 8, 2011, 6:52 AM
          • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb January 8, 2011, 8:32 AM

            Are you illiterate as well? What does the hell does the word “probably” mean?

            If you don’t know the cause of the phenomena, you can’t talk in terms of absolutes.

            As for the rest of the diatribe, what absolute rubbish. When you wrote “Questioning one’s beliefs is a good practice, by all good scientists.”

            So your not talking about OTHERS beliefs here, you are now talking about YOUR OWN beliefs!

            It only leads to the logical conclusions that either; You yourself don’t believe what your saying or that you believe your own arguments to be false.

            Frankly, you are clearly no scientist, because no scientist would be so absolutely mindless! You are deliberately trying to trip up others from your own specious arguments here. So forget the egotistical pretentiousness here, your just playing the ignoramus for the sake of it.

        • DrFlimmer January 8, 2011, 7:50 AM

          (2) The cause of magnetic reconnection is quite simple: Twisted magnetic fields store a lot of energy, and, thanks to reconnection, this energy can be released and the fields relax into a more “comfortable” state. This is, maybe, the simplest answer for that question. One could go into more details, but I don’t see the need.

          (1) At least for me, reconnection was an “educated guess” (as you called it).The evidence is that reconnection is able to accelerate particles with high efficiency (as is observed in the earth’s magnetosphere and related events). A second thing is that the accelerated particles gain a preferred direction and remain collimated to some degree. This could explain that the mini-jets are only relatively localized events.
          Obviously, one would need to work out the details, and I’m quite sure that some people already do exactly that.
          As a matter of fact, other fields of astrophysics could benefit from such work, since acceleration mechanisms are need in some other places as well.

        • Torbjorn Larsson OM January 9, 2011, 8:07 AM

          “Suggestion an analogy between spicules and terrestrial lightning, is no different to suggesting an analogy with quasars.”

          Except such pattern recognition of widely different phenomena is EU methods, while recognizing universality of jets isn’t. Your swearing off a certain position _and its methods_ doesn’t test well with the facts. And its the general methods I discussed.

  • DrFlimmer January 7, 2011, 4:11 AM

    And I thought the sun was becoming cooler to its core, since it should have been powered from the outside. What a bummer. :-P

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    I wonder, however, how these mini jets are launched within the sun. I just speculate here that they are not related to the larger jets of (e.g.) quasars (which would be nice on the other hand, because one could study them in great detail). Probably some violent reconnection events could be at work, which are some sort of flare below the photosphere.

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb January 7, 2011, 3:08 PM

      It is far more interesting that this phenomena is likely a rarity. Considering the very low particle density of the corona (c.10^15 particle per cubic metre) compare to the Earth (c,10^25 particles per cubic metre) [A staggering 10 billion times more dense!]
      I agree. This heating is probably caused by some violent process of magnetic reconnection, and it is likely occurring well inside the sun at some boundary layer where the plasma goes from random turbulent state (like the core) to one where the electrons become organised and generate the electrical currents for the field.
      Due to the high complexity of the behaviour of the sun’s interior, from the core and out to the photosphere, I think the true cause of the coronal heating might elude us for some time to come. Pity we can never go inside the sun and test it out in some physical experiment!

    • Rodd January 8, 2011, 3:31 AM

      “And I thought the sun was becoming cooler to its core, since it should have been powered from the outside. What a bummer.”
      And you thought right. That exactly the case if you go from the outer atmosphere (corona) to its core (towards the photosphere), it IS becoming cooler, tens of hundreds times cooler! That is actually the “strange” phenomena that we are trying to explain.

  • Torbjorn Larsson OM January 7, 2011, 4:22 AM

    Ah, thanks! The O’Neill post mentions that a coronal physics expert is not convinced the newfound mechanism is the whole story. Of course, his estimate must be taken with a magnetic pinch of sodium and chlorine ions for the time being.

    But my take from this is:
    – a) the coronal heating phenomena got a whole lot easier to digest since one mechanism (even if itself still unexplained) is now actually observed
    – b) the rising likelihood of several mechanisms may explain part of why the explanation has been so elusive

    As a naive layman I have to agree with Klimchuk on other putative mechanisms, reconnection is what I understand from astrophysicists an often observed phenomena further away from the sun. I believe Cluster has seen them. It is a natural occurence in these environments, and will really kick particles big time. So it must be a given candidate to test for.

    too cool

    Nothing about a dynamic body like the Sun can be “too” cool! :-o

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb January 7, 2011, 5:51 AM

      “Of course, his estimate must be taken with a magnetic pinch of sodium and chlorine ions for the time being.”

      I think you mean here more like highly ionised ions in the corona like Na X and Cl VII;

      It is currently known that 0.07% of the corona is Na X, Sodium will nine electrons removed, and > 0.05% of Cl VII, with six electrons removed. The largest amount of energetic ‘metals’ is FeXX and Fe XXIII/IV lines, though all of the X-ray lines in the corona are from Fe IX to XXIII.

      Just o be accurate….

      • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb January 7, 2011, 5:52 AM

        Just to be accurate…

        • Torbjorn Larsson OM January 8, 2011, 3:48 AM

          Right. I’m not into highly ionized ions, coming from cold plasmas (electronics processing) myself. Potato V, potatoe VI.

          Some day you people have to tell me what, if anything, decides the specific populations of different ionizations.

          • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb January 8, 2011, 6:40 AM

            They say a picture paints a thousand words…

            Have a look at the image in this story, which shows the ionisation occur in the corona. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100104161803.htm

            Note: The cooling of the corona at about 0.5 solar radii

          • Torbjorn Larsson OM January 9, 2011, 8:02 AM

            So I take it knowing processes to and from specific ionizations are still somewhat unknown?

    • gopher65 January 7, 2011, 7:10 AM

      Torbjorn Larsson OM: I don’t think it’s unlikely that multiple mechanisms are causing the corona to be hot. I for one am relieved that a secondary mechanism (or maybe this is the primary one?) has been found. 2 explanations are better than one;).

  • Ignoramus January 7, 2011, 9:23 AM

    Good, now what heats the spicules to begin with?

    • iantresman January 7, 2011, 4:02 PM

      Is that the same as asking what makes the plasma accelerate?

  • Lawrence B. Crowell January 7, 2011, 9:57 AM

    I am not a solar physicist or a plasma physicist, so I can only write in generalities here. However, I suspect the interior of the sun contains a complicated tangle of magnetic field lines trapped in the plasma. The field configuration probably has some Legendre polynomial expansion. There are probably some high periodic functions which correspond to high multipole moments. These may then have considerable energy and near the surface emerge as these spicules. This bit is complicated for one would need to expand the magnetic field in and outside the sun and match boundary conditions on the surface.

    LC

    • Torbjorn Larsson OM January 8, 2011, 4:38 AM

      Actually many or most suspect, as in the discussion above, that reconnection is a culprit for many of these phenomena. This is a non-linear phenomena and have severe discontinuities where quasistatic harmonic functions (i.e. twice continuously differentiable, IIRC) suggested by Legendre polynomial solutions doesn’t cover the whole region in the first place.

      [And hey! The link does have observed examples referenced! And the twice c.d. thingie of harmonics - my memory isn't totally making things up then...]

      Reconnection is poorly understood AFAIU, but it seems to me there are effects hypothesized where particles couples to the field and the field couples to the particles. The general crazy feedback behavior of plasma in other words, and in my mind more like plasma wave phenomena than quasistatic field behavior.

      • iantresman January 8, 2011, 6:43 AM

        This ties in with my question above. Is magnetic reconnection a cause or effect?

        • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb January 8, 2011, 6:59 AM

          No one that stupid to answer leading questions, now are they?

          if you already know the answer, then why say this?
          Frankly your artificial sickening fawning just makes everyone here want to throw up.

          Just makes your earlier statement here; “I’m sorry that I am not as smart as you, in being able to ask clever questions.” as false as you are!

          • iantresman January 8, 2011, 7:32 AM

            Crumb wrote :”No one that stupid to answer leading questions, now are they?”

            Thank you for answering my question. I think that should be “No one is that stupid…”

          • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb January 8, 2011, 8:17 AM

            You mean no one as stupid as to ask questions they already know the answer. I.e. You.

      • Lawrence B. Crowell January 8, 2011, 6:20 PM

        I sent this and the web site went blank. This derivation is pretty much standard fair.

        Reconnection looks like a singular point. If I appeal to the Maxwell-Faraday equation

        curlH = J + &D/&t & = partial

        then in a region where two magnetic field lines are close to recombination the curlH is very large and so the current plus displacement current on the RHS is large. Now if I take the current density and multiply it by the electric field displacement J*E this is by elementary Ohm’s law the power (P = EI — a variant of E = IR). The current is obtained by integrating over the volume V. So

        P = int dVJ*E = int dV(curlH – &D/&t)*E

        Now use the vector identity div(ExH) = H*curlE – E*curlH to write

        P = int dV(div(ExH) – H*curlE – E*&D/&t).

        Remember that D = epsE and B = H/mu for the eps the dielectric and mu the magnetic permeability constants. W now use Stokes law that the volume integral of the divergence of a vector field (here ExH) is equal to that vector field integrated over the surface area A bounding that volume

        P = int dA(ExH) – int dV(H*curlE – E*&D/&t)

        Now finally the other Maxwell equation is curlE = -&B/&t we have

        P = int dA(ExH) + int dV(1/2)&(H*B)/&t + (1/2)&(E*D)/&t)

        The first term is a Poynting vector term, which for the moment we ignore. The volume integral is over the time rate of change in the energy density of the field.

        If the curH above is huge then so is &D/&t, which means that at recombination (a time rate of change) &D/&t and &(E*D)/&t are huge as well. So the power to drive the plasma is quite large. &D/&t is a displacement current, which can drive electric charges.

        LC

        • iantresman January 9, 2011, 4:42 AM

          Thanks for the Reconnection description.

          Can we infer, or do we know, what is happening to the plasma itself, which to me would seem more useful. One of the results, of course, is a spicule, which is the movement of plasma in a collimated jet. But what is happening to the plasma during reconnection?

          It also seems to me that since there may be a release of energy during reconnection, that this implies that there must be a bulk movement of the plasma in some ordered fashion?

          • iantresman January 9, 2011, 6:26 AM

            @Crumb

            I’m sorry I’m not up to the mark of a “decent IEEE proponent”. I’m also
            not aware of having made any “preposterous notions” in this thread.

            I don’t know how plasma causes reconnection. If it is just down to pressure as you suggest, then wouldn’t read that spicules are causes by “pressure forced onto the plasma”. And isn’t the pressure of the plasma decreasing as we move from the Sun’s interior and into its atmosphere?

            I’ve tried to find some papers that might address this, but perhaps I misunderstand what you are suggesting.

          • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb January 9, 2011, 5:53 AM

            Quite s\imply, it is caused by pressure forced onto the plasma to move along some squished directional magnetic field lines, thus greatly accelerating the plasma.

            Its consequence, of course, is exactly as Dr. Flimmer has already said.

            Frankly, any decent IEEE proponent would already know this without having to resorting to the need for preposterous notions.

            Again wanting answers to questions when you already know the answer, makes you look like your just deliberately fishing for attention! Frankly, as per usual, it is insulting at best, and it makes you look like a complete and utter fool !

          • Lawrence B. Crowell January 9, 2011, 6:30 AM

            To really model this means coupling the Boltzmann-Vlasov (BV) equation to the Faraday-Maxwell equation. This leads to a thicket of differential equations which have few trivial solutions. In fact the solution set is probably uncategorizable. Numerical methods are most usually employed

            The BV equation will give the transport properties which result in this recombination. Beyond my second semester course in Jackson electrodynamics I can’t comment much.

            LC

          • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb January 9, 2011, 6:43 AM

            Yeah. I’ve already answered your before question!!!!
            “This heating is probably caused by some violent process of magnetic reconnection, and it is likely occurring well inside the sun at some boundary layer where the plasma goes from random turbulent state (like the core) to one where the electrons become organised and generate the electrical currents for the field.”

            All I’ve done is reduced it to a simpler explanation for a layman.
            Please. Accept it and move on!

          • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb January 9, 2011, 7:20 AM

            If you say; “I don’t know how plasma causes reconnection.”

            Then why have a linked site called “Plasma-Universe.com.”?

            If your such a poor innocent lamb, then how can you not be aware of thinks you have already stated which you profess not to know anything about? (Are you suffering for memory loss or even signs of Alzheimer’s Disease?)

            Let’s look at an example of one of your own previously stated “preposterous notions” beyond this thread?

            You ask this question; “And isn’t the pressure of the plasma decreasing as we move from the Sun’s interior and into its atmosphere?”

            You tell me. Wasn’t it you who wanting the process of spillation to be the immediate substitute for nucleosynthesis occurring in sun and stellar cores? Can’t you remember trying to con others that this was instead all some mystical creation by some applied plasma voodoo? If we were to believe this, your answer would be a resounding ‘no’ now, wouldn’t it?
            Perhaps a better suited question would be;

            “And isn’t the opacity of the plasma decreasing as we move from the Sun’s interior and into its atmosphere?”

          • Olaf January 10, 2011, 5:11 AM

            @Hon. Salacious B. Crumb

            “Again wanting answers to questions when you already know the answer, makes you look like your just deliberately fishing for attention!”

            Not a attention technique but a SPAM technique to increase your google rankings by promoting your website link.

        • iantresman January 9, 2011, 7:40 AM

          @Lawrence

          The Boltzmann-Vlasov / Faraday-Maxwell equations seem to model what might be going on, rather than explain a causes.

          @Crumb

          Thanks for reiterating your statement, as I queried before, what you are basing your suggestion on? DrFlimmer said that for him, for me, “reconnection was an ‘educated guess'”, but I’m not sure on what you are basing yours, and would be interested to know.

          • iantresman January 9, 2011, 8:50 AM

            Crumb quoted: “The cause of magnetic reconnection is quite simple: Twisted magnetic fields store a lot of energy, and, thanks to reconnection, this energy can be released and the fields relax into a more “comfortable” state.”

            I don’t dispute it. I’m just curious to know what’s going on with ionized particles in the plasma that is causing all this, and “organisation” of the plasma just seemed vague.

          • iantresman January 9, 2011, 11:42 AM

            Crumb wrote: “As for having “ionised particles in the plasma” is a great pointedly foolish oxymoron.”

            I believe the sentence suggests a tautology. An oxymoron might arguably be “ionized gas”.

            The individual particles in a plasma behave differently to the plasma as a whole, just as the currents in the sea behave differently to the ocean as a whole.

            You’ll note that I have not felt the need to question your trust, nor suggest that you are foolish.

          • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb January 9, 2011, 7:48 AM

            Dr. Flimmer said;
            “The cause of magnetic reconnection is quite simple: Twisted magnetic fields store a lot of energy, and, thanks to reconnection, this energy can be released and the fields relax into a more “comfortable” state. This is, maybe, the simplest answer for that question. One could go into more details, but I don’t see the need.”

            Again. Please. Accept it and move on!

          • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb January 9, 2011, 10:56 AM

            “I don’t dispute it.”
            Then don’t debate it.

            As for having “ionised particles in the plasma” is a great pointedly foolish oxymoron. Anyone would think your becoming a PC/EU heretic.
            Pity you can’t be trusted.

          • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb January 9, 2011, 11:49 AM

            Trust has to be earned. From my experience with you, regardless of semantics, this has not been meet. Pity, but that’s the way it is.

        • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb January 9, 2011, 7:26 AM

          Oops! I meant to say…

          If you say; “I don’t know how plasma causes reconnection.”

          Then why have a linked site called “Plasma-Universe.com.”?

          If your such a poor innocent lamb, then how can you be already aware of this on this site, then now stated and profess here you do not to know anything about it? (Are you suffering for memory loss or even signs of Alzheimer’s Disease?)

          • iantresman January 9, 2011, 8:36 AM

            Crumb wrote: If you say; “I don’t know how plasma causes reconnection.”
            Then why have a linked site called “Plasma-Universe.com.”?”

            If I link to a Cosmology site, it doesn’t mean I know how the Big Bang started.

          • iantresman January 9, 2011, 10:38 AM

            The only person continuously mentioning “self-deluded fantasy theory” is you. The only person putting words into my mouth is you. The only person who believes they can read my mind is you. The only person being continuous disrespectful to me is you. The only person continuous knocking me, is you. I’m sure you’re I nice person in real life, but your behaviour demeans any good intentions you may have.

          • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb January 9, 2011, 8:58 AM

            No, but you would know about current theory and be able to differentiate between it and some self-deluded fantasy theory.

            Really. Pretending to have selective filtering of some subject or established facts that you profess to know all about, well, makes you all the more irrelevant.

            If you think you know what’s happening here, then say so. Else keep it to yourself and stop playing these senseless mind games.

        • Torbjorn Larsson OM January 9, 2011, 8:12 AM

          Yeah, that is the quasistatic approach. The link I gave notes how it (or rather “standard methods” like MHD) doesn’t explain even order of magnitude of the effects observed.

          Thus a non-linear approach seems in order.

  • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb January 7, 2011, 3:17 PM

    Funny. There is an ad for “Plasma und Corona : Standard und Anwendungsbezogene Plasma und Korona Anlagen @ http://www.tantec.com/; above the story!!
    It is advertising for Corona Treatment Equipment and Plasma Treating Systems.

    What do you think? A model process for testing solar plasma or just for eradicating those pesky PC/EU proponents?

    • Torbjorn Larsson OM January 8, 2011, 4:40 AM

      Wouldn’t that need to be “Cockroach Treatment” then? Turn around a plasma, and what do you find…

      • Torbjorn Larsson OM January 9, 2011, 8:21 AM

        Hmm. I can’t find the comment policy. I was pretty sure it was against abuse of specific persons, not characterizing them as groups.

        In any case, if the policy has changed to Political Correctness, I still stand behind my already given comments on EU and similar religious groups in general. But I won’t repeat them here.

        Also, it makes it difficult to discuss anti-science in general.

  • Nancy Atkinson January 8, 2011, 9:18 AM

    Hey guys — be nice or we’re going to have to start limiting comments or deleting them from certain people. Even though our new design doesn’t list the comment policy (yet) here they are for a reminder.

    * Be nice – Don’t abuse other readers, the writers, or the Universe in general. Don’t swear, make racist or sexist comments, etc. I think you know when you’re being rude. Stop it.
    * Be brief – Don’t write a long rambling comment that’s longer than the original article.
    * Don’t advertise – Don’t use the site to promote your product, service, or your own website. If you’d like to promote your stuff, buy advertising.
    * Don’t promote your personal, alternative physics theories – This is the same as advertising. You’ve got an idea and you want the world to know about it, then start up your own website, and blog away, but don’t do it here.

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb January 9, 2011, 5:57 AM

      Yeah. You needed another rule too.

      Don’t treat other here like chumps, otherwise you will deserve everything you dished out back on you!

  • iantresman January 9, 2011, 6:35 AM

    Here’s an abstract of the paper in Science Magazine, where the authors mention that “.. coronal mass supply in which chromospheric plasma in fountainlike jets or spicules is accelerated upward into the corona”

    The Origins of Hot Plasma in the Solar Corona“, B. De Pontieu, et al, Science 7 January 2011 Vol. 331 no. 6013 pp. 55-58, DOI: 10.1126/science.1197738

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