nasa sun NASA discovers how the Sun stores and releases energy

NASA scientists have discovered the first clear evidence of energy transfer from the sun's magnetic field to the solar atmosphere or corona, a scientific theory that now has substantial backing.

NASA scientists have discovered the first clear evidence of energy transfer from the sun's magnetic field to the solar atmosphere or corona, a scientific theory that now has substantial backing.

 
The findings were discovered by a NASA suborbital telecscope, the High Resolution Coronal Imager, which caught the highest ever resolution images of the solar corona to date, with five times more detail than previous imaging tools used to study the Sun. The telescope only launched from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in July of last year and has already delivered to the world of astronomy.
 
During the $5 million telescope's 10 minute flight it caught 165 images of a large, active region of the Sun's corona. The images showed the evolution of the magnetic field, in addition to releases of energy at temperatures of between a mind-boggling two million and four million degrees.
 
nasa sun NASA discovers how the Sun stores and releases energy
The Hi-resolution Coronal Imager full resolution image shown here is from the solar active region outlined in the AIA image (upper left). Several partial frame images are shown including a potion of a filament channel (upper center/right), the braided ensemble (left, second from top), an example of magnetic recognition and flaring (left, third from top), and fine stranded loops (left, bottom). These Hi-C images are at a resolution of 0.2" or 90 miles. This resolution is the equivalent of resolving a dime from 10 miles away. Image credit: NASA
 
“Scientists have tried for decades to understand how the sun's dynamic atmosphere is heated to millions of degrees,” said Hi-C principal investigator Jonathan Cirtain, a heliophysicist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. “Because of the level of solar activity, we were able to clearly focus on an active sunspot, and obtain some remarkable images. Seeing this for the first time is a major advance in understanding how our sun continuously generates the vast amount of energy needed to heat its atmosphere.”
 
The findings will help improve space weather predictions, which largely rest on the eruptions of energy from the Sun. Understanding the evolution of the magnetic field will thus give astronomers a better idea of shifting space weather patterns, which can affect the atmosphere of our planet and even threaten satellites in orbit.