NASA has solved the mystery of the «flaming hair» of the Sun

© Illustration RIA Novosti . Alina Polyanina/NASA Spicules, fiery hair of the SunNASA has solved the mystery of the «flaming hair» of the Sun© Illustration RIA Novosti . Alina Polyanina/NASA

. NASA astronomers watched the birth of hundreds of millions of spicules, a kind of «flaming hair» of the Sun, through which its matter is transformed into the solar wind, and found, as they arise. Their findings are published in the journal Science.

«As a rule, magnetic lines are closely associated with charged particles. If the interior of the Sun and in our models were present only such particles, then magnetic fields are «stuck» and could not go beyond the surface of the disc. When we added in the model, a neutral particle, the magnetic fields jiggle,» says Juan Martinez-Sykora (Juan Martinez-Sykora) from the Laboratory of astrophysics of solar companies Lockheed-Martin in Palo Alto (United States).

As explained by astronomers, the Sun appears to observers on Earth shining smooth and quiet drive, but in fact it is not – its surface is virtually constantly «boiling» and continually on the move. On the surface of the Sun every day there are large outbreaks, which lead to the «ejection» of hundreds of millions of tons of red-hot matter in outer space.

These outbursts, called coronal mass ejections, are not the main source of solar emissions. The lion’s share falls on the solar wind and the so-called spicules – small protuberances at the surface of the Sun, in which matter is dispersed lights and leaves. Due to the existence of the spicules, the surface of the Sun, if you look at it up close, resembles a moving shock of fiery hair, and not «bald» and still glowing ball.

Martinez-Sykora and his colleagues figured out why there are such «hair» of the Sun. To do this, she analyzed data collected by the probe IRIS launched in summer 2013 to monitor the birth of the outbreaks on the surface and processes in the chromosphere, the outer shell of the star.

Every second in the chromosphere, as scientists tell us, are born and disappear tens of millions of spicules. Their emissions reach a height of tens of thousands of miles in 5-10 minutes — a moment in the cosmic sense, and then either fall back, or fly away into space.

Based on data obtained during observations of the «hair» of the Sun, scientists have created a computer model of subsurface light. She helped them figure out how the matter of the spicules is heated almost instantaneously to millions of degrees Kelvin when leaving the surface of the disc, and to understand how their birth involved the magnetic field.

It turned out that in the surface layers of the luminary contains a lot of neutral atoms. They radically change the behavior of magnetic field lines in the upper chromosphere produced by «boiling» the matter of the Sun into the deeper layers of the subsoil.

Neutral atoms, as the scientists explain, not «cling» magnetic field lines and facilitate their movement, allowing the lines to emerge on the Sun’s surface and to entrain charged particles, expelling them in the atmosphere of a star and into space like a slingshot or catapult.

This process heats the ejected plasma and generates a special magnetic waves, which are associated with the existence of the solar wind.

The opening mechanism of the birth of the «flaming hair» of the Sun, as scientists hope, will help better predict «Sunny weather» and will allow astronomers and physicists closer to understanding where other types of flares on its surface.