Scientists have found a strange connection between sunspots and the composition of his crown

© NASAПятна on the surface of the Sun was related to the chemical composition of its crownScientists have found a strange connection between sunspots and the composition of his crown© NASA

The level of magnetic activity and the frequency of appearance of spots on the surface of the Sun was associated with the way a lot of iron and some other heavy elements contained in the crown, the upper layer of the atmosphere of the star, said in an article published in the journal Nature Communications.

«Previously, scientists believed that the chemical composition of the atmosphere of stars dependent on their physical properties, which actually never change, such as rotation speed or the force of gravity on the surface. We found that the composition of the crown is actually constantly changing, and thus it strongly depends on the magnetic activity level and the heating of the corona,» says David Brooks (David Brooks) from George Mason University (USA).

The sun is a ball of hot plasma, the upper layer of which is constantly «mixed», which in combination with the high conductivity of the plasma creates a strong magnetic field. The magnetic field lines often go beyond the more dense layers of the Sun, which leads to stains and powerful coronal emission with the potential to destroy civilization and all life on Earth.

The high temperature of the corona is the uppermost layer of the solar atmosphere still remain a mystery to astrophysicists. Underlying layers of the Sun — the chromosphere and photosphere is heated to a temperature of about six thousand degrees Kelvin. In the boundary layer between the corona and the photosphere several kilometers thick this temperature dramatically increases hundreds of times that today is associated with still not fully clear processes in sunspots and magnetic «tubes» on the surface of the disc.

Brooks and his colleagues have uncovered an unusual link between the appearance of these spots and behavior of the corona of the Sun, trying to understand why the chemical composition of the atmosphere of the star is dramatically different from how the top layer of subsoil.

Analyzing the data that the SDO probe was collected during the first four years since its launch, scientists noticed something unusual – the proportion of ions of iron, magnesium and silicon in a strange way fluctuated over time. This discovery came as a surprise to Brooks and his colleagues, as they did not expect that they will see even small shifts in their concentrations.

Comparing these fluctuations with other cycles of solar activity, astronomers were surprised to find that the increase and decrease in the number of ions of astronomical «metals» was related to how often there were spots on the Sun and how often there were flashes on its surface. In other words, the higher the magnetic activity within the Sun, the more iron, magnesium and other metals contained in the crown.

Why is this happening, scientists still do not know, however, the existence of such links suggests that processes in the deep layers of the Sun can play a very important role in the heating of the corona and that they can be studied, by observing the change in the concentration of «metals» on the surface of the disc.

More interesting is the discovery looks like from the point of view that it allows us to study cycles of activity that are characteristic of distant stars that we can observe with Hubble and other telescopes. Following this idea, Brooks and his colleagues analyzed the spectrum of several stars, which astronomers have followed for several years, but they were expected failure – like relationships they had failed to find.

How do you think the researchers themselves, they got similar results from the fact that such observations were conducted long enough and that this dependence exists rather than not in the behavior of distant stars. In the future, they hope, will be carried out over long cycles of observations that will help us understand whether changes in the activity of other stars in a cyclic manner or it belongs only to the Sun.