Tracking Waves from Sunspots Gives New Solar Insight
While it often seems unvarying from our viewpoint on Earth, the sun is constantly changing. Material courses through not only the star itself, but throughout its expansive atmosphere. Understanding the dance of this charged gas is a key part of better understanding our sun – how it heats up its atmosphere, how it creates a steady flow of solar wind streaming outward in all directions, and how magnetic fields twist and turn to create regions that can explode in giant eruptions. Now, for the first time, researchers have tracked a particular kind of solar wave as it swept upward from the sun’s surface through its atmosphere, adding to our understanding of how solar material travels throughout the sun.
Scientists analyzed sunspot images from a trio of observatories — including the Big Bear Solar Observatory, which captured this footage — to make the first-ever observations of a solar wave traveling up into the sun’s atmosphere from a sunspot.
Image credit: Zhao et al/NASA/SDO/IRIS/BBSO #nasagoddard #sun