NASA released a report today that new information has been collected by IRIS, or the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, and the results can begin applying some of the three new findings to further knowledge on the Sun and its atmosphere. The insights will come in the realm of understanding why the sun’s corona is heated so much more than the surface. Additionally, the findings help scientists understand why solar winds happen, as well as what makes the particles take off during a solar flare. Solar flares are powered by tiny particles becoming more, and more active and eventually expanding and exploding outward as they become more active.
The overall goal is to use this new information to help along research and get a more thorough understanding of how the sun is able to transfer energy through its atmosphere. The research as a whole shows that this part of the sun is significantly more complicated than any scientists had thought before.
First, scientists discovered that there are heat pockets in the lower portions of the atmosphere. These lower level temperatures are around 200,000 Fahrenheit, and scientists often refer to these as “solar heat bombs,” because they release so much energy in such a short period of time. Scientists believe that having a better understanding of these pockets, will give them greater insight into how the entire solar system is heated up, and how regular, or irregular heating patterns are recognized.
Next, scientists got a closer look at loops of solar material in the interface region of the sun. The belief is that this will give scientists a better understanding of how the solar atmosphere is energized, since they lack the traditional means that planets have to create an atmosphere. This will also give scientists a solid understanding how the energizing process works around the sun in the atmosphere. In many ways it will be like understanding how the sun gets charged from the outside.
The last, and possibly the coolest display that IRIS picked up were the large solar flares that were initiated by something called magnetic reconnection. This is where magnetic field lines cross, separate, and then cross again – causing them to explode when they do realign. This is a major player in terms of how the sun is getting energy, and how heat is created from the sun. These are called nanoflare’s and this is something that NASA has wanted more information on for some time.