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Sci Tech    H4'ed 6/7/19

Daily Inspiration — High energy from the sun

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There's a lot that astronomers have figured out about the universean amazing amount, considering that all we have to work with is what the sky hands us. You can't do experiments in astrophysics. But we have figured out the basic structures of the universe in stars and galaxies and various clusters at different scales, and we have figured out the energy sources in stars and black holes and supernovae, and have a good idea how the different chemical elements came to be and where they came from.

But we don't understand cosmic rays. There are competing, partial theories. But especially for the most energetic cosmic rays, we have no good theories about where they come from and also no good ideas how they last as long as they do without giving up their energy to the very tenuous gas that fills interstellar space.

When it comes to the sun, we thought we understood all the basics about how it works. The core is a hydrogen bomb, millions of degrees. At the surface, the part of the sun we see has a temperature 'only' thousands of degrees.

But the sun's corona (atmosphere) is another story. It is millions of degrees. We have models for how it gets to be so hot based on magnetic heating, but I'm not sure we would have predicted such high temperatures if we hadn't discovered the hot corona first, by looking at it.

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Now there's a new mystery. There are gamma rays coming from the sun, and some of them have really high energies. With energies like that, you could make cosmic rays out of them without too much troublejust add a proton, and there are plenty of those around. But no one expected the sun to be producing gamma rays (or cosmic rays) of its own, especially at the high energy end. These gamma rays are so energetic that if we translate to a temperature, it would be trillions of degrees! That's far too hot to be plausible. There must be some kind of magnetic engine that is shooting these particles out with such impressive energy.

There's a mystery here and also an opportunity. If we can figure out how the sun generates such high energy photons, maybe other stars are doing the same thing"

Article by Natalie Wolchover at Quanta Magazine

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photo by Moulzdid from the 2017 eclipse
photo by Moulzdid from the 2017 eclipse
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Josh Mitteldorf, a senior editor at OpEdNews, blogs on aging at http://JoshMitteldorf.ScienceBlog.com. Read how to stay young at http://AgingAdvice.org.
Educated to be an astrophysicist, he has branched out from there to mathematical (more...)
 

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3 people are discussing this page, with 5 comments  Post Comment


Alexander Kovalchuk

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The answers to the questions raised in this article are in the Report https://allatra.tv/en/video/new-fundamentals-of-physics-based-on-allatra-physics click here of the International Public Movement ALLATRA. There is comprehensive information about the structure of matter, including the nature of light and how the sun gives its heat. It is interesting...

Submitted on Saturday, Jun 8, 2019 at 11:51:54 AM

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Brian Giffin

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Josh,

Idle Amateur questions:

I'm trying to put these high energy gamma ray findings in with that article from Nat. Geographic two days ago. It's about now observed magnetic fields connecting galaxy clusters. These seem to have electrons spinning around a magnetic core, at near light speed traveling stunning distances. This requires powerful energy according to the article.

Electrons going near light speed is just how they are, can I make that generalization?

In household wiring, electrons bump each other, rather than travel great distances unsupported, from what I've heard. It happens at near light speed.

It's finding electron threads existing unsupported way out in space, is harder to explain?

If our sun makes these near cosmic rays it's likely so do the others. The energy temperature keeps stepping up as it moves out of the sun. At the galaxy level perhaps it is doing something larger yet that spans these distances, (can't keep from speculating).

Submitted on Saturday, Jun 8, 2019 at 5:18:55 PM

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Josh Mitteldorf

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Just as Inits have 20 words for "snow", physicists parse "near light speed" very finely. Because the speed of light can't be exceeded, energy piles up higher and higher without limit as you get close to light speed.

Physicists use the symbol gamma to measure how close you are to the speed of light. Gamma=1 means the particle isn't moving at all. The highest energy protons from the sun have gamma=50. What that means is that 49/50 of their mass comes from energy. They're so close to light speed that they are 50 times heavier than a proton at rest. In other words, protons are moving so fast that they weigh 50 times as much as a proton at rest, and time for the proton is slowed down by a factor of 50. This magnitude is comparable to the biggest man-made experimental particle accelerators.

The Nat Geo article doesn't give an energy for the electrons in intergalactic magnetic fields but it's hard to get electrons to the same levels of energy because they are 2,000 less massive than a proton, so you have to get an electron up to gamma=2,000 just to have the same energy as the slowest proton.

Submitted on Monday, Jun 10, 2019 at 12:28:55 AM

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Brian Giffin

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I'm going to have to sleep on this, that mass and energy are interchangeable is of course basic physics. I heard it before in HS, but maybe it's sinking in differently.

I googled gamma rays so I'm not so ignorant, its the highest energy photon because it's got the shortest wavelength. That isn't so obvious to me the why, but I'll take it. Are we seeing gamma rays everyday from the sun or more ordinary energy photons?

Electrons and photons are related. An LED emits one photon when one electron crosses the boundary, if I get it right. Apparently photons can have different energy values if some of them are gamma rays. I thought they were all the same, like I think electrons are.

Now for a truly pseudo science question. If an idea catches ahold of someones mind, is the likelihood of that related to the speed at which the idea is presently going? It's mass might increase with it's speed of entry.

This would explain why young people have so much impact, they are going so much faster.

Submitted on Monday, Jun 10, 2019 at 4:01:09 AM

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I'm seeing now I'm mixing up photons and protons. I'm still way out in left field.

Submitted on Monday, Jun 10, 2019 at 4:12:34 AM

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