CHENNAI: The European Solar Probe, which has been studying the yellow dwarf star in our solar system, Sun, has spotted a ‘tube’ of cooler atmospheric gases rapidly snaking its way through the Sun’s powerful magnetic field.
The phenomenon, which was observed on September 5 was intriguing because the snake was a precursor to a much larger eruption from the Sun. The phenomenon was observed as Solar Orbiter was approaching the Sun for a close pass that took place on 12 October. The follow-up eruption swept over Nasa’s Parker Solar Probe, allowing its instruments to measure the contents of the eruption.
The European Space Agency said that the snake is a tube of cool plasma suspended by magnetic fields in the hotter surrounding plasma of the Sun’s atmosphere and the plasma in the snake is following a particularly long filament of the Sun’s magnetic field that is reaching from one side of the Sun to another.
“You're getting plasma flowing from one side to the other but the magnetic field is really twisted. So you're getting this change in direction because we're looking down on a twisted structure,” David Long, Mullard Space Science Laboratory (UCL), UK, who is heading up the investigation into the phenomenon, said in a statement.
The agency also released a video of the event, which was constructed as a time-lapse from images from the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager onboard a Solar Orbiter. While the video has speeded up, the event took around three hours to complete its journey traveling at the speed of around 170 kilometers per second.