The Magnetic Structure of the Sun Looks Like a Psychedelic Plasma Lamp

Thursday, 04 February 2016 - 11:01AM
Space
Sun
Thursday, 04 February 2016 - 11:01AM
The Magnetic Structure of the Sun Looks Like a Psychedelic Plasma Lamp
The magnetic field lines surrounding the Sun are invisible, but when NASA decides to visually represent them, they make our star look like a touch-activated lamp at a Halloween party (or a bunch of glowing dandelion seeds).



Opening quote
"The sun is a beautifully magnetically driven star, but we can't actually see magnetic field lines," NASA says in the video. "They're essentially invisible, and so we have to turn to models in order for us to see the global magnetic structure of the Sun."
Closing quote

The color-coded lines represent magnetic field lines, which extend from inside the sun to far out into space. The green and purple lines have a north and south polarity, respectively, while the white lines represent a closed magnetic field. 

NASA creates these models to study the magnetic field lines on a global scale, particularly their effect on the Sun's surface. The interaction of magnetic field lines is thought to cause explosions on the sun's surface, leading to spectacular coronal mass ejections, as well as impacting space weather and even certain earthly phenomena.

Opening quote
Grasping what drives that magnetic system is crucial for understanding the nature of space throughout the solar system," NASA writes. "The sun's invisible magnetic field is responsible for everything from the solar explosions that cause space weather on Earth – such as auroras – to the interplanetary magnetic field and radiation through which our spacecraft journeying around the solar system must travel.
Closing quote
 

via GIPHY



Via Popular Science.
Science
NASA
Space
Sun

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