Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Queen’s University announces solar discovery

08.04.2008
As a result of intensive collaboration with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center near Washington, astronomers at Queen’s University Belfast have announced an exciting discovery that could pave the way to solving a problem which has been baffling solar physicists for years.

The fact that the temperature increases as you move away from the surface of the Sun has had scientists perplexed for decades. Many believe that waves travel from the surface of the Sun and release their energy in the outer layers of the solar atmosphere; similar to ocean waves travelling across the sea before releasing their energy when they crash into land.

Researchers from the Astrophysics Research Centre at Queen’s and NASA have now shown that certain types of waves are unable to travel to the outer reaches of the Sun.

The discovery came after the use of compact and lightweight components allowed for the highly sensitive Extreme Ultraviolet Normal Incidence Spectrograph (EUNIS) to be launched from White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

During this NASA rocket flight, an unprecedented 145 spectral images of the outer atmosphere of our Sun were captured in under six minutes. Traditionally, such pictures taken by satellites would run at one per minute, while EUNIS provided images at a rate of one per 2.5 seconds at a massively lower cost.

David Jess, a current PhD student at Queen’s University Belfast, has used the data from this flight to investigate processes occurring within our Sun’s atmosphere.

“The sun is the building block of our lives. We rely on it for heat, light and so much more. Common sense tells us that the further you travel away from a heat source, the cooler the air will be. The Sun, however, doesn’t obey common sense. The fact that the temperature increases as you move away from the surface of the Sun has been baffling solar physicists for decades. EUNIS has allowed us to test mechanisms for heat transfer to these outer reaches of the Sun’s atmosphere,” explained David Jess.

“Using the unrivalled data rates provided by EUNIS, we have shown that certain waves appear to hit a barrier at approximately 3000 km above the surface of the Sun, in a region called the corona. The corona can be seen during total eclipses. The amount of material, or density, at this height drops dramatically and we have revealed that this is the most likely cause for the dip in strength of the waves,” according to Jess.

The Queen’s University Solar Physics Group, led by Dr. Mihalis Mathioudakis, has been at the forefront of rapid wave observations in the Sun for many years.

“This is an amazing discovery as we try to aim to raise the understanding of waves in our Sun and finally comprehend why the outer layers of the Sun are hotter than its surface. The involvement of our group with NASA is providing a huge impact on the solar physics community.” said Dr. Mathioudakis.

“Queen’s University will be key players in a future flight of EUNIS scheduled for mid-2010.”

EUNIS is currently undergoing extensive modifications at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center to improve sensitivity and resolution for the 2010 launch.

Lisa Mitchell | alfa
Further information:
http://www.qub.ac.uk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light
23.10.2017 | Chalmers University of Technology

nachricht Creation of coherent states in molecules by incoherent electrons
23.10.2017 | Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

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: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>