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Rising Plasma Offers Clues To Sun Storms

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SUMMARY: Researchers use Doppler tracking to see, for the first time, loops of 1,800,000-degree Fahrenheit plasma flowing up from the sun at more than 12 miles per second.

Rice researcher part of team that used Doppler shifts to ID phenomenon; may help predict space weather

HOUSTON – (July 2, 2012) – Doppler measurements that help track storms on Earth may also be useful for understanding storms on the sun.

A Rice University astrophysicist is part of an international team that combined Doppler techniques with images and data from a space-based telescope to observe, for the first time, loops of 1,800,000-degree Fahrenheit plasma flowing up from the sun’s surface at more than 12 miles per second.

The loops, rooted in active regions near sunspots and guided by the sun’s magnetic field, arch over the sun and may be the first signs of trouble spots, where plasma undergoes “impulsive heating,†according to the researchers. They expect their findings will help scientists understand the genesis of solar flares and coronal mass ejections – solar storms – that threaten satellites orbiting Earth and power transmission grids on the ground.

http://news.rice.edu/2012/07/02/rising-plasma-offers-clues-to-sun-storms/

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