Solar Corona Heating
On Jan.14, 2011 article in space.com touts “A NASA spacecraft is giving scientists great looks at parts of the sun’s super-hot atmosphere that had previously evaded detailed study.”
Scientists remain baffled by the fact that the Sun’s corona, essentially its upper atmosphere is much hotter (1 to 8 million degrees) than the solar surface or photosphere (5500 K), from which the light that bathes the Earth is emitted. The temperature decreases to a minimum of about 4500 K some 500 km above the photosphere, after which it rises steadily. About 1500 km above the photosphere, the gas temperature begins to rise rapidly, reaching more than 1 million K at an altitude of 10,000 km. Thereafter, in the corona, the temperature remains roughly constant at around 3 million K, although SOHO and other orbiting instruments have detected coronal “hotspots” having temperatures many times higher than this average value.
The high temperature of the solar corona was first observed in 1920 during an eclispse of the Sun, it was only then that the bright light from the surface of the Sun was blocked, that the spectra of the atoms in the corona could be observed. Although the gas in the corona is much less dense than in the photosphere, the highly ionized state of heavier atoms showed that the true temperature there was well in excess of a million degrees.
Scientists believe that somehow energy is coming up from the Sun’s surface and heating the corona, but the minimum temperature zone between the two makes this virtually impossible. The general belief is that it is transferred via the solar magnetic field and concentrate much attention on the Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), events in which masses of high energy particles are ejected at high velocities, which can effect the Earth, causing auroras, etc.. Scientists recognize that sunspots are associated with these ejections, but believe the sunspots are caused from within the Sun, again, by some sort of unknown actions of the magnetic field.
The cyclic catastrophism, which lasted some 3,000 years, completely reshaped the solar system and its aftermath is still deceiving astrophysicists to this day. In addition to changing the number and arrangement of the terrestrial planets, innumerable smaller bodies were ejected both from priori-Mars as it orbited the Earth and from Jupiter’s enormous jet, which shot from the impact site out of which Venus was formed about 5700 years ago, now marked by the Great Red Spot. The observable bodies ejected from priori-Mars include all the Earth approaching asteroids, short period comets, meteorites and the tiny bodies which cause the meteor showers. The ejected mass is evidenced by the fact that the northern third of Mars, the former outer shell of that planet, is 7 km lower than the rest of the planet. The observable bodies from Jupiter include the main belt asteroids and the Kuiper belt bodies. The vast amount of mass lost from Jupiter is indicated by the slowing of its rotation rate, evidenced by the monotonic decrease of what is currently thought to be the ‘drift’ of the Great Red Spot, which after continuing for some 5700 years, only ceased in the 1930s.
Generally speaking, the bodies ejected from priori-Mars are smaller, although a few earth approaching asteroids have dimensions of twenty miles. The meteorites, which are all from Mars, are more typical of these bodies. The most common type of which are carbonaceous condrites, which came from the surface of the formerly living planet. Much larger, hydrated, cinder-like (low density) bodies formed from the hot jet of gases ejected from Jupiter, e.g. the main-belt asteroids. However, lacking any understanding of cyclic catastrophism, modern scientists are completely unaware of millions of these bodies still present in highly eccentric orbits around the Sun.
Although innumerable smaller bodies have impacted the Moon and Mercury, forming their regolith and craters, infinitely more have been falling, and continue to fall, into the Sun causing a number of heretofore unexplained features. An entire class of bodies from Jupiter entered highly eccentric orbits around the Sun and as their orbits have decayed, they have impacted the Sun causing sunspots. A clue to this is the that the sun-spot cycle is very close to the period of Jupiter. Additional evidence is the measured downward motion (3000 km/hr) of material within sunspots and the presence of large amounts of water detected in the light from them. Since these bodies froze in the vicinity of Jupiter, they become magnetized, causing the magnetic field effects associated with sunspots, indeed causing the formation of the Suns’ superficial magnetic field, as discussed in a previous post. These large bodies, falling from the vicinity of Jupiter, have high speeds and the friction of their passing through the solar atmosphere causes some of the heating of the corona, but because of their greater mass, many make it through the atmosphere to the surface of the Sun.
The total volume of smaller bodies ejected from priori-Mars is evidenced by the several kilometer thick layer of regolith on the Moon and Mercury in spite of their tiny size. As their orbits decay the overwhelming majority also fall toward the Sun, but most burn up by friction in the solar atmosphere causing the remainder of the heating of the corona. So none of the heating of the corona comes from below.
The localized source of heating of the corona is obvious in the accompanying figure, taken at a UV wavelengths characteristic of the corona. In technical terms, the heat is not thermal, i.e. not uniformly distributed. The extremely high temperature ‘hot-spots’ mark the passage of the larger bodies. Another clue to the origin of the high temperature, is the fact that the spectra used to determine the high temperature of over a million degrees, is based on the highly ionized states of heavy elements such as iron, which is found in both bodies from priori-Mars and Jupiter.
Ignorance of the smaller bodies falling into the Sun’s atmosphere has led planetary scientists on an additional goose-chase. The elements which make up the carbonaceous chondrite meteorites, obtained by spectrographs in the laboratory match the concentrations of the elements which now naturally appear in the absorption spectra of the Sun. Believing these represent the actual composition of the Sun, scientists have come to the conclusion that carbonaceous chondrite meteorites represent the primordial material from which the Earth and the other terrestrial planets formed at the inception of the solar system. This does not make any sense because rocks with densities greater than 2 g/cm^3 cannot form in the weightlessness of space. They must form on a planet with significant gravity.