The ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter spacecraft has solved the mystery of magnetic switching

Solar rebounds are sudden and large deviations in the magnetic field of the solar wind. The mechanism of switch formation and its sources remain unresolved. Now, the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter spacecraft has found compelling evidence about the origin of these magnetic switches.

Solar Orbiter has made the first remote sensing observation compatible with solar inversion, providing a full view of the structure, confirming that it has an S-shaped character, as expected. In addition, the overall view provided by data from Solar Orbiter indicates that these vary rapidly magnetic fields Its origins may be close to Sun.

Despite the fact that many spacecraft have passed through these mysterious regions in the past, the data at the site only allow measurements at a specific point and time. As a consequence, the structure and shape of the backswitch must be inferred from the plasma measurements and magnetic field properties recorded in one location.

Solar switches are frequently found after the launch of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe In 2018. This strongly suggests that rapid magnetic field reversals occur more regularly near the Sun and has raised the possibility of S-shaped magnetic field kinks.

Reversion is the name given to the phenomenon because of its bewildering behavior. About how these formed, several theories have been put forward.

On March 25, 2022, the Solar Orbiter was just a day away from a pass close to the Sun – putting it into the planet’s orbit. Mercury And her Metis tool was taking data. Metis blocks the bright glare of light from the surface of the sun and takes pictures of the corona.

At about 20:39 UTC, Metis captured an image of the solar corona that showed a distorted, S-shaped striation in the coronal plasma. According to Danielle Teloni, National Institute of Astrophysics – Astrophysical Observatory in Turin, Italy – it must be a solar shift.

The image was later compared to an image captured by the Solar Orbiter’s Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging (EUI) instrument. It was found that the filtered switching was occurring over an active region indexed as AR 12972. Further analysis showed that the plasma velocity over this region was very slow, as would be expected from an active region that had not yet released energy.

Daniel realized that this was similar to the switch generation mechanism introduced by Professor Gary Zank of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, USA. The theory examined interactions between various magnetic regions near the surface of the sun.

Daniel and Gary demonstrated that switching processes occur when there is an interaction between the region of open field lines and the region of closed field lines. When field lines cluster together, they can reconnect in more stable configurations. Instead of breaking the whip, this releases energy and releases an S-shaped turbulence traveling into space, which a passing spacecraft will record as bouncing.

Gary Zank said, “The first image of Metis shown by Danielle almost immediately suggested to me the cartoon we drew in developing the mathematical model back to back. Of course, the first image was just a snapshot, and we had to temper our excitement until we used Metis’ excellent coverage to extract temporal information and perform a spectral analysis More detailed for the photos themselves. The results prove to be amazing!”

The scientists also built a computer model of the behavior. They found that their results bore a striking similarity to the Metis image, especially after they included accounts of how the structure elongated as it spread outward across solar crown.

Daniel said, “I would say that this first image of a magnetic return in the solar corona has revealed the mystery of its origin.”

The next step is to try to statistically relate the shifts observed at the site to their source regions on the Sun. In other words, to fly a spacecraft through the magnetic reversal and be able to see what happened on the surface of the Sun. This is exactly the kind of correlation science the Solar Orbiter is designed to do, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the Solar Orbiter needs to fly through the switch. It could be another spacecraft, like the Parker Solar Probe. As long as the on-site and remote sensing data are in sync, Danielle can make the correlation.”

Daniel Muller, European Space Agency (ESA) project scientist for the Solar Orbiter, He saidAnd the “This is exactly the kind of result we were hoping for with the Solar Orbiter. We’re getting more data from our group of ten instruments with each orbit. Based on results like this, we’ll fine-tune the planned observations for the solar orbiter’s next solar encounter to understand how the Sun is communicating.” the broader magnetic environment in the ocean. Solar System. This was the first very close pass of the Solar Orbiter to the Sun, so we expect more exciting results in the future.”

Journal reference:

  1. Daniel Teloni, Gary B. Zank and others. Observation of magnetic rebound in the solar corona. Astrophysical Journal Letters 936 L 25. DOI: 10.3847 / 2041-8213 / ac8104