A Changing View


Chromosphere transition region. Credit: NASA/IRIS/Pereira


Oct 29, 2014

Recent solar observations support the electrical model.

NASA launched the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) on June 28, 2013 in order to study the solar corona and help determine why it is far hotter than the Sun’s surface, or photosphere. New information from IRIS has identified so-called “heat bombs”, among other features, that are thought to explain the thermal variance in the Sun’s atmosphere.

Heliophysicists were surprised to see formations that resemble “mini-tornadoes” in the Sun’s chromosphere. They are considering whether those structures are what transfer the thermal energy necessary to heat the corona. IRIS also detected “fountains of plasma” from coronal holes; possibly the source of the solar wind, a torrent of charged particles ejected from the Sun that reaches all the way to the edge of the Solar System, billions of kilometers away.

As Jeff Newmark, interim director for the Heliophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington said: “These findings reveal a region of the sun more complicated than previously thought.”

According to the fusion model of the Sun, hydrogen in its core is being converted to helium, releasing tremendous amounts of energy. The core’s temperature is thought to be 15 million Celsius, with compressive strain 340 billion times greater than Earth’s atmospheric pressure. A common metaphor is to imagine millions of hydrogen bombs exploding all at once within a confined space: 700 million tons of hydrogen are said to be converted into helium every second.

The Sun’s surface is known as the photosphere. Above that surface layer is the chromosphere, and above that is the corona, the outermost part of the Sun’s visible atmosphere. The photosphere averages 6000 Celsius, while the corona can be as much as two million Celsius! This is the great mystery that has encumbered researchers. How is it that the hottest region of the Sun begins at an altitude of 4000 kilometers and extends over a million kilometers from its surface without any significant temperature drop? Based on the thermonuclear fusion model, as distance from the surface increases the temperature should decrease. It is a matter of simple thermal emission mechanics: temperature decreases with the square of the distance.

Before IRIS was launched, some research groups thought that the temperature increase comes from the “rearrangement of magnetic field lines”, otherwise known as “magnetic reconnection”. SOHO and TRACE satellite observations see small, rapidly changing magnetic regions on the Sun’s surface, so it was suggested that “reconnection events” within those fluctuating fields continuously heat the solar corona. However, as Electric Universe advocate Professor Donald Scott has repeatedly stressed, no one has ever observed magnetic field lines “reconnecting” and no one ever will.

Plasma discharge behavior is a better model for solar activity. Laboratory experiments with a positively charged sphere show that a plasma torus forms above its equator. Electric discharges bridge the torus with the middle and lower latitudes of the sphere. Spicules are consistent with the principle of “anode tufting,” a plasma discharge effect expected of a positively charged electric Sun. The mini-tornadoes observed by IRIS in the chromosphere are spicules.

The Sun’s chromosphere is a plasma sheath, or double layer region of the Sun, where most of its electrical energy is contained. When the current flowing into the Sun’s plasma sheath increases beyond a critical threshold it can also trigger a sudden release of that energy, causing solar flares and gigantic prominence eruptions.

Electric forces occurring within the double charge layer above the Sun’s surface cause the observed phenomenon. The Electric Sun model predicts the reverse temperature gradient and describes how it occurs. If the temperature discontinuity did not exist, that would be a problem. The Sun’s reverse temperature gradient agrees with the glow discharge model, but contradicts the idea of nuclear fusion energy trying to escape from deep inside the Sun.

Stephen Smith

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