After 400 years of mystery, astronomers discover the possible origin of the solar magnetic field After 400 years of mystery, astronomers discover the possible origin of the solar magnetic field

After 400 years of mystery, astronomers discover the possible origin of the solar magnetic field

After 400 years of mystery, astronomers discover the possible origin of the solar magnetic field
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The Sun's magnetic field is not as deep as previously thought, a team of astronomers said, shedding new light on its mysterious origins that have puzzled them for 400 years.

Since dark spots on the Sun, known as sunspots (telling signs of solar magnetic activity) were documented by the Italian astronomer Galileo as early as 1612, scientists have tried to understand the source of the Sun's ever-changing magnetic field.

Theories were that it was generated deep within the star, at a depth of about 130,000 miles (about 210,000 km) below the surface of the sun.

However, complex computer simulations now indicate that this solar phenomenon is much shallower than previously thought, at a depth of about 20,000 miles (32,000 km).

This discovery indicates that the Sun's magnetic field arises from instability in the plasma across the outer layers of the Sun's surface, and not from the depths of the star as previously thought.

These results give scientists a better opportunity to more accurately predict the powerful solar storms that cause the northern lights to appear in the night sky, and can also cause power outages, disrupt the Internet, and even destroy satellites orbiting the Earth.

"Understanding the origin of the Sun's magnetic field has been an open question since Galileo, and is important for predicting future solar activity, such as flares that emanate from the Sun and could hit the Earth," explains Daniel Lequanet, an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics at Northwestern University in the US. .

"Although many aspects of solar dynamics remain shrouded in mystery, our work makes huge strides in solving one of the oldest unsolved problems in theoretical physics and opens the way to better predictions of dangerous solar activity," he added.

During the study, scientists developed modern models to simulate the solar magnetic field to learn more about sunspots and flares that appear on the surface of the Sun driven by the magnetic field, which is generated internally through a process called solar dynamo action.

The simulation showed that changes in the flow of super-hot ionized gas (known as plasma) within the Sun's surface layers were enough to generate magnetic fields in the same regions.

In contrast, scientists said that changes in the deeper layers produced less realistic solar fields, concentrated near the sun's poles instead of the equator.

Computer models were also able to explain how sunspots are related to the Sun's magnetic activity.

The team explained that the patterns seen in the simulations match the locations and timelines of sunspots observed by astronomers since the era of Galileo.

Keaton Burns, a research scientist in the Department of Mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US, said: “I think this result may be controversial. Most of the community has focused on finding dynamo action deep in the Sun. We are now showing that there is a different mechanism that seems more consistent with observations.” ".

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