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February 27, 2011

Experts Detect Waves in Magnetic Holes in Sun

Earlier this week, Solar experts from the University of Sheffield and Queen's University Belfast have discovered waves coming from giant magnetic holes in our Sun, a major discovery for those attempting to unlock the mysteries of the Sun, and more generally the atmospheres of stars across the universe. The Sun is interwoven by a large, complicated magnetic field that is responsible for many of the Sun's observable characteristics. Among these is the appearance of large, dark, hole-like regions on the Sun's surface which indicate areas in which the magnetic field breaks through the Sun's interior and into its atmosphere. The largest of these regions are now known as "sunspots," and have been studied for thousands of years. The discovery of the magnetic fields piercing the Sun's exterior and emitting waves is significant because it shows how the Sun creates its magnetic field in its upper atmosphere, which is 1,000 times stronger than Earth's. These waves are a specific type of waves, known as "sausage waves," a defining characteristic of which being they cause their magnetic holes to increase or decrease in size periodically. The "sausage waves" also emit an incredible amount of energy, further contributing to the Sun's power.

It is interesting to learn about the discovery of a new type of wave, especially after learning all about the other types of waves, such as sound and light waves. These "sausage waves" do have some of the same characteristics that the waves we studied have, but are clearly also different in certain aspects. Astronomy is an ever-changing field, so will this discovery lead us to have to adjust the definition of a "wave?" Also, how will this discovery impact how we view the Sun's impact on its orbiting planets, especially our Earth? Only time will tell.

The full article is here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110224103041.htm

Posted by jordk at February 27, 2011 10:35 PM

Comments

This is so interesting. A new wave to study could make a giant impact on what we already know. I don't doubt that with a little more study, these waves could help us develop alternate ways of energy on earth. Waves are already complex, so these "sausage waves" could hold so much information. Also, this is our own sun that we are talking about. We could learn so much more about our sun and its future impact on our solar system.

Posted by: mackenro at February 28, 2011 07:25 PM

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