New 'IMaX' magnetograph makes observing Sun's magnetic structure possible
A Spanish instrument known as IMaX magnetograph has observed the sun for the formation and evolution of a magnetic flux tubes on its surface.
These tubes are considered to be the building blocks of solar magnetism but their existence had only heretofore been demonstrated indirectly due to their small size.
IMaX was designed to overcome one of the major challenges facing astrophysics today, the solar magnetic field, which manifests itself in many different forms, such as the eleven year cycle, sunspots or solar storms and today, it is considered the key to a deeper understanding of the Sun.
Seen at a scale of one thousand kilometres, the surface of the Sun seems to be governed by granulation, a convective phenomenon similar to the bubbling of boiling water, where low density hot gas rises to the surface; as it cools off, its density increases and the gas descends again.
Jose Carlos del Toro Iniesta, supervisor of Iker S. Requerey's PhD thesis. said that it seemed like the development of the tubes ended there, but they have discovered that they were unstable structures.
Not only they have been able to observe that sequence for the first time, but they have also found an ulterior, unknown phase which deserves to be studied, he added.
(Posted on 03-07-2014)