Small filaments were found in the solar plumes, which they called “feathers”, which, scientists believe, will help to understand the causes of the origin of the solar wind.
Scientists have combined NASA data and modern imaging technologies to study the solar structures that create stellar winds.
The Sun’s magnetic influence extends over billions of kilometers, far beyond the orbit of Pluto and the planets, and determines the movement of the stellar wind. This constant stream of solar material transports the Sun’s magnetic field into space, where it forms the environment around the Earth and other objects.
Changes in the solar wind could create space weather effects that affect not only planets, but also people and missions that are now traveling throughout the solar system. The new work suggests that relatively small, previously unexplored features near the Sun’s surface may play a decisive role in the nature of the solar wind.
In particular, we are talking about the “feathers” that make up the solar plumes.
This shows the importance of small-scale structures and processes that take place on the Sun.
Vadim Uritsky, Scientist at the Catholic University of America and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
The solar wind depends on unstable magnetic fields: the surface of the Sun is covered with loops and combinations of magnetic fields.
Using high-resolution observing systems, the research team found that plumes (carriers of solar material that affect the wind) are actually made of much smaller strands of material, which they call plumes. While the entire plume extends for about 112, 6 thousand km. in SDO images, each plume filament is only a few thousand miles wide: from 3,700 km. up to 7200 km.
This suggests that plumes are not structural features of the Sun, but rather the building blocks from which plumes are made.
Scientists also found that the “feathers” move individually, each on its own. Scientists believe their individual behavior may be the main factor behind changes in the solar wind.