IPFS News Link • Science

How a NASA Probe Solved a Scorching Solar Mystery

• arclein

The sun's magnetic engine, called the solar dynamo, lies about 200,000 kilometers beneath the sun's surface. As it churns, that engine drives solar activity, which waxes and wanes over periods of roughly 11 years. When the sun is more active, solar flares, sunspots and outbursts increase in intensity and frequency (as is happening now, near solar maximum). At the sun's surface, magnetic fields accumulate at the boundaries of churning convective cells, known as supergranules, which look like bubbles in a pan of boiling oil on the stove. The constantly boiling solar surface concentrates and strengthens those magnetic fields at the cells' edges. Those amplified fields then launch transient je