Friday, April 13, 2018

Huge Solar 'Tornadoes' Do Not Rotate After All

 According to a new study presented at the European Week of Astronomy and Space Science in Liverpool, UK, solar tornadoes may be inaccurately labelled as 2D imaging in the past has been misleading.
 Solar tornadoes are gigantic structures several times the size of Earth observed on the Sun for more than a hundred years. These structures bear a striking resemblance to tornadoes on Earth, however they are formed from magnetized gas fixed to the solar surface, instead of intense, mobile winds.
 Using the Doppler effect to add a third dimension to their data, the team of European astronomers have been able to measure the speed of the moving plasma, along with its direction, temperature and density.

 “We found that despite how prominences and tornadoes appear in images, the magnetic field is not vertical, and the plasma mostly moves horizontally along magnetic field lines,” said team leader Dr. Nicolas Labrosse, from the University of Glasgow.
 “The overall effect is similar to the trail of an aeroplane in our skies: the aeroplane travels horizontally at a fixed height, but we see that the trail starts above our heads and ends up on the horizon. This doesn’t mean that it has crashed,” added team member Dr. Arturo López Ariste, from the University of Toulouse.

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