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Magnetic Field Uses Sound Waves to Ignite Sun's Ring of Fire - Media page
Date: May 29, 2007 at 5:00 p.m. EDT


The call-in number is Toll Free US: 888-455-9639; International: 1-210-234-0001. Pass Code: Sun

A team of scientists funded by NASA and the NSF have discovered what shapes and powers the chromosphere, a thin region of the sun's atmosphere which appears as a ruby red "ring of fire" around the moon during a total solar eclipse. The chromosphere, so-called because of its color, is a significant source of variations in the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation that may contribute to climate change on Earth. It is a 10,000C layer sandwiched between 6,000C solar surface and the 1,000,000C outer atmosphere (corona) - that's like standing next to a fire and getting warmer as you move away from it instead of cooler: a puzzle that has left solar physicists scratching their heads for decades. Sound waves and the ever-changing solar magnetic field have each been proposed as potential drivers of this counter-intuitive temperature change in the past. The new result shows that both have a part to play in creating the change, offering a significant leap in the understanding of one of the sun's remaining great mysteries.


+ Bart De Pontieu, research scientist, Lockheed Martin Solar & Astrophysics Lab, Palo Alto, CA
+ Scott McIntosh, research scientist, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder CO


Powerpoint icon Icon for the multimedia promo Thumbnail of the chromosphere of the Sun

Contact Information:

Rani Gran
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, Maryland
Phone: 301/286-2483

Related Links:

+ The Swedish Solar Telescope at The Institute for Solar Physics, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
+The Planetary Science Directorate of the Southwest Research Institute
+ Lockheed Martin solar & Astrophysics Lab

Event Information:

The media telecon will take place on Tuesday May 29, 2007, at 5:00 PM EDT. The call-in number is Toll Free US: 888-455-9639; International: 1-210-234-0001.