Effects of Solar Magnetism on the Sun’s Surface
The laboratory experiment provided me with a magnified view of the sun, which enabled me to see most of its surface activities. In particular, the experiment helped me to understand how the sun’s magnetic fields affect its surface phenomena. Just like the earth, the sun has various regions which have different characteristics that determine its looks. The sun’s interior is divided into three main regions: the core, the radiative zone, and the convective zone. One of the major determinants of the photosphere and chromosphere appearances is the sun’s magnetic field and energy. In particular, the sun’s magnetic fields and energy shape the bright gas ejected by the sun, resulting in the emergence of explosions. It also traps surrounding gases, which produce different formations on the photosphere and chromosphere.
Keywords: Photosphere, chromosphere, magnetic field, magnetic energy.
This experiment provided me with a magnified view of the sun, which made me see most of its surface activities. In particular, I was able to observe how the sun’s magnetism affects its surface phenomena. In this lab experiment, I used the Meade Coronado Personal Solar Telescope (PST) to see the sun. This telescope was fitted with a Hydrogen-Alpha (Hα) filter, which only allows a specific wavelength of light to pass. Accordingly, this instrument is safe since it blocks 99.99% of the sun’s light and allows a person to see the sun using his/her naked eyes.
Using the Meade Coronado Personal Solar Telescope (PST) telescope, I was able to observe the sun’s photosphere and chromosphere. The visible part of the sun, its surface, is called the photosphere. The sun’s atmosphere is divided into two parts; the chromosphere, which is the lower region, and the corona, which is the upper section. On the photosphere, I observed granulations that were mottled. There were also faculae’s, which were bright areas near the solar limb. Just above the photosphere, I observed the chromosphere, which was reddish. I also saw prominences, solar flares, and sunspots, which were caused by the sun’s magnetic fields. Prominences are formed when bright gas clouds are ejected from the sun and shaped by its magnetic fields into various shapes such as loops, spikes, or detached regions (Bakich). Solar flares refer to explosions that occur in the sun. Sunspots are various shapes formed on the sun by its magnetic field (Bakich).
The sun’s magnetic fields usually shape the bright gas clouds ejected from the sun to form prominences (Bakich). Prominences normally look like spikes, “trees,” or detached regions when viewed at the sun’s edge (Bakich). When viewed straight, they look like dark lines, which are called filaments, since they always have a cooler gas than that of the surface beneath them. It is important to note that the sun’s magnetic fields determine the shape of the prominence.
Besides shaping the prominences, the sun’s magnetic fields also result in the formation of solar flares. Normally, the sun’s accumulated magnetic energy is released into the atmosphere in the form of explosions that are called solar flares. The solar flares differ in size and are classified depending on their sizes. They range from subflares, those smaller than 2 square degrees, to 4 flares, which are more than 24.8 degrees (Bakich).
Finally, the sunspots come in various shapes and sizes depending on how they are affected by magnetic fields. In some cases, the sun’s magnetic field traps surrounding gas and slows its motion, which becomes cooler than its surrounding area (Bakich). The cooled gas results in the formation of sunspots. The central part of the sunspot is called the umbra, and it is the darkest region. It is surrounded by a brighter and much hotter region called the penumbra (Bakich).
The primary objective of this laboratory experiment was to observe the effects of the sun’s magnetism on its surface. From the study, I observed that the sun’s magnetism results in the formation of prominences, solar flares, and sunspots. In particular, this lab experiment made me learn that the sun’s magnetic fields and energy are so strong that they can trap surrounding gases and slow their motions. The magnetic energy of the sun is also so strong that it explodes into its atmosphere, emitting radiation storms.
Bakich, Michael. Solar Observing 101. Astronomy, 27th June, 2016, www.astronomy.com/great-american-eclipse-2017/articles/2016/06/solar-observing-101. Accessed 24th February, 2010.