Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mystery of Turbulent Density Fluctuations Explained

22.10.2009
Scientists at The University of Alabama in Huntsville have developed a three-dimensional simulation model to understand behavior of interplanetary charged particles in space.

Physics professors Dastgeer Shaikh and Gary Zank of the university’s Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research and Department of Physics said the model explains how density of the interplanetary particles varies in time and space. Remarkably, the distribution of scale sizes of the density fluctuations is observed to satisfy a universal law called the Kolmogorov-spectrum.

The researchers noted that interplanetary space surrounding Earth is filled up by randomly moving charged and uncharged particles. These particles originate essentially from stars like our Sun or other nearby stars and are accelerated through interplanetary space. These are real “micro-probes” that tell us about distance, composition and many important aspects of the distant cosmological objects such as neighboring stars, galaxies and massive astrophysical clouds.

“From the behavior of these particles in space, it is possible to know the extent of the physical universe,” they explained. “We provide a simpler explanation of why should particle density follow a Kolmogorov-spectrum. The interplanetary space is like water or air surrounding us. The charged particles are tied to the mass-less rope of magnetic field lines and move around in water in a random manner. Something similar to “cream in a cup of coffee” or particles of ‘baby talcum powder’ spread on the surface of stirred water that convects the particles of powder along with the water flow. We find that these particles follow a Kolmogorov-spectrum. We are trying to understand their motion statistically.”

NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft, cruising in the outer space for nearly 30 years, has tracked down the interplanetary particle density from our Sun to a distance up to 100 times the distance between the Sun and Earth. That is 93.7 million miles multiplied by 100. “It was found that the particle density varies with distance by a Kolmogorov-spectrum. But one of the major hurdles in understanding this spectrum is interplanetary turbulence that makes the particle's trajectory random in space and time,” the scientists said.

The original theoretical effort behind this model was laid down in early 1990s by Dr. Zank, who had put forward "a truly amazing hypothesis" that related the density to velocity of these turbulent particles, according to Dr. Shaikh. “It took us nearly 20 years to computationally realize the truth behind Zank's model. We run our higher resolution computational model on San Diego supercomputer (256 processors) to arrive at this conclusion. Our model is also consistent with Voyager's observations.”

Drs. Zank and Shaikh said it’s important to know correct statistical behavior of the interplanetary particle density. “Some of the techniques (like angular broadening) are based on density variations to measure the distance of stellar objects from Earth. Precise measurement of density field is critical to determine exact location, age, and composition of the stellar bodies,” they said.

Their research will appear in the November issue of the Royal Astronomical Society's journal.

Ray Garner | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.uah.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect
24.05.2017 | Vienna University of Technology

nachricht Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect
24.05.2017 | University of Cologne

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>