European probe unraveled the mystery of sudden reversals of the Sun’s magnetic field

(ORDO NEWS) — Astronomers have been able to figure out why the Sun’s magnetic field changes its local configuration periodically. This is reported by the European Space Agency (ESA).

In the 1970s, the German-American Helios probes surveyed the Sun from a flyby trajectory and recorded sudden local reversals of the Sun’s magnetic field.

These mysterious reversals were always sudden and temporary, lasting from a few seconds to several hours before the magnetic lines returned to their original direction.

Now scientists have figured out the nature of this phenomenon using the Parker Solar Probe, launched in 2018. They confirmed the hypothesis according to which the change of magnetic induction vectors is associated with the S-shaped form of the field.

The Metis instrument blocks the main sunlight and photographs the near-solar plasma, which consists of charged particles that react to a magnetic field. With its help, scientists obtained an image of the solar corona, which showed an S-shaped kink in the coronal plasma.

Comparing this optical image with a simultaneous ultraviolet image of the star itself, astronomers noticed that the kink is located above the active region of AR 12972. Such active regions are associated with sunspots and the magnetic activity of the Sun.

As a result, the experts came to the conclusion that the local change in the vectors of the magnetic field is associated with the interaction of the magnetic moments of different solar plasma flows, which eventually generate bizarre lines of force.

The authors hope that this discovery will help to understand exactly how the solar wind is formed, directed by similar magnetic fields.


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