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NASA To Explore "Secret Layer" of the Sun 75

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-forget-your-metaphasic-shields dept.
SpaceAdmiral brings news that NASA will be launching a telescope next April, called Solar Ultraviolet Magnetograph Investigation (SUMI), which will examine what is called the "transition region" between the Sun's corona and the chromosphere. Scientists have studied characteristics of the Sun around this region before, but never within it. NASA notes: "It is a place in the sun's atmosphere, about 5000 km above the stellar surface, where magnetic fields overwhelm the pressure of matter and seize control of the sun's gases. It's where solar flares explode, where coronal mass ejections begin their journey to Earth, where the solar wind is mysteriously accelerated to a million mph. It is, in short, the birthplace of space weather."
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NASA To Explore "Secret Layer" of the Sun

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  • I was going to say they should go at night.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 05, 2008 @07:10PM (#24895791)

    Sun: Welcome to my secret layer, Mr Powers, I've been expecting you.

  • Solar Probe Plus (Score:5, Informative)

    by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Friday September 05, 2008 @07:11PM (#24895809) Homepage
    It's worth a note that another upcoming NASA mission, Solar Probe Plus [space.com], will actually probe the corona, not just look at it.

    See data and reports on Solar Probe Plus [nasa.gov]

    • Have we determined that the Sun is definitely not sentient?

      If it is, it seems like an awfully bad idea to go probing the corona of a being capable of melting us in a matter of seconds.
  • They filter out all light and suddenly discover there's a gigantic EULA on the surface of the sun?
  • Where is Doctor Evil's Secret Volcano Layer?

  • The cat's out the bag now, boys ... no longer a secret

    aw, what the hell - am drunk anyway, taking me longer than 20 minutes to type this out :-)
    • Yeah well it was fun while it lasted. Now it's gonna get all touristy.
    • by zxnos (813588)

      actually, to get to the secret layer you have to fly through three solar flares then press up up down down left right left right a b a b select start then hit reset button on the console EXACTLY as you press start on controller two.

  • To access the Secret Sun Layer, you must first kill Baal. After you have killed Baal (making sure the quest has been completed), you can access the Secret Sun Layer.

  • by Kesch (943326) on Friday September 05, 2008 @07:58PM (#24896167)

    "It is a place in the sun's atmosphere, about 5000 km above the stellar surface, where magnetic fields overwhelm the pressure of matter and seize control of the sun's gases. It's where solar flares explode, where coronal mass ejections begin their journey to Earth, where the solar wind is mysteriously accelerated to a million mph. It is, in short, the birthplace of space weather."

    Did anyone else get aroused reading the summary?

    I don't know about the rest of you, but the sun gets me pretty hot.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 05, 2008 @08:11PM (#24896253)

      "It is a place in the sun's atmosphere, about 5000 km above the stellar surface, where magnetic fields overwhelm the pressure of matter and seize control of the sun's gases. It's where solar flares explode, where coronal mass ejections begin their journey to Earth, where the solar wind is mysteriously accelerated to a million mph. It is, in short, the birthplace of space weather."

      Did anyone else get aroused reading the summary?

      I don't know about the rest of you, but the sun gets me pretty hot.

      Did you have a coronal mass ejection?

    • that was terrible, you should be punished.
    • by johannesg (664142)

      Did anyone else get aroused reading the summary?

      I don't know about the rest of you, but the sun gets me pretty hot.

      Well, she's still single, so go for it...

  • by mikael (484) on Friday September 05, 2008 @08:44PM (#24896479)

    I wonder if they will be able to get some more high resolution images like:

    High resolution image of Solar Granulation [solarphysics.kva.se]

    And some animations: Sun spot #1 [solarphysics.kva.se] Sun spot #2 [astro.uio.no]

  • They'll turn out to be the C'tan, and we all know what that leads to! Necrons!
  • It is, in short, the birthplace of solar weather.

    Fixed that for you.

  • It seems like every time the brains at NASA send out a new multi-gazillion dollar probe to investigate something, they always say that "this research will give us clues as to the origin of life"

    Personally, I think it's code-speak for "we just think this is fscking cool, but we need to justify spending gazillion bucks"

    • by barakn (641218)
      They didn't say that this time, so why did you mention it? And it's not a very expensive probe either.
  • How did Slashdot find out about the "secret" layer of the sun I JUST Blogged it on my "A-Space" page 10 minutes ago! it's SEECUREE!

  • magnetic fields overwhelm the pressure of matter and seize control of the sun's gases. It's where solar flares explode, where coronal mass ejections begin

    Sounds like someone needs some beano.

  • It would be interesting to see if this supports the electric universe theory, that the sun is not powered by gravity fusion, but is instead a giant Plasma Lamp [thunderbolts.info]. The purpose of the probe is to measure magnetic field lines of the sun from earth's low orbit, and perhaps it can travel far enough in its 8 minutes to detect the radial field lines that the EU theories say must exist...

    • The EU book is a collection of half-truths that makes non-sensical claims such as "impact craters are caused by bolts of electricity". If there is ever another book burning fad it should be used to light the bonfire.
    • by arminw (717974)

      ...The purpose of the probe is to measure magnetic field lines of the sun...

      Does anybody know how to generate a magnetic field without the movement of charge? It has been an experiment clearly established and we use this effect every day, that electric currents produce magnetic fields. That is how all electric motors work. Since we can measure magnetic fields on the Sun, these must be due to immense electrical currents. The question then is: Where or what is the power supply that produces these currents? T

      • The cosmologists who admit only gravity as the controlling force operative in the large-scale universe, find it necessary to come up with all sorts of exotic constructs, such as black holes, dark matter and dark energy. If the 36 orders of magnitude greater electric interaction is ALSO taken into account, in addition to the force of gravity, then these exotic, weird figments of the astronomers imagination become unnecessary to explain the latest observation coming in from advanced, sophisticated space probes.

        What are you talking about?

        Black Holes were not some exotic construct necessary cooked up to make sense of observations. They were predicted by theorists on paper, and only after we calculated they must exist did anyone actually try looking for them. Which we did.

        • by arminw (717974)

          ....did anyone actually try looking for them....

          And so far they have never directly found any so called black hole either. They have found what some _interpret_ as indications of the existence of a black hole, but never a black hole itself. What is interpreted to be a powerful gravitational field, can also be interpreted to be a powerful electric or magnetic field. What we observe is what appears to be an exceedingly powerful force associated with what has been called an immensely massive object, such as a

          • By a black hole's inherent properties you can't directly observe it and to expect such direct observations is foolish. Electric forces aren't going to cause the space-time curvature that would hide the black hole to begin with. If black holes were wells of primarily electric force, why would they trap light making them so well, "black"?

            We know that the electric force is 36 orders of magnitude greater than gravity.

            Too bad the range of that electric force is too short for any of this pseudoscience to make any sense. Gravity, on the other hand actually has non-negligible range over a

            • by arminw (717974)

              ....Too bad the range of that electric force is too short....

              Both diminish the same way, but unlike gravity, electricity can also repel. All this black hole idea is a mathematical fiction which has NO physical reality. The immense energies involved with so called black holes can easily be interpreted to be the result of intense electromagnetic interactions. We have observed intense magnetic fields traversing cosmic distances in space. The sun and planets have magnetic fields. The sun produces a measured ele

              • Both diminish the same way[...]

                No, they don't diminish the same way in non-ideal settings, like the real universe. "gravity is important at long distances is because all masses are positive and therefore gravity's interaction cannot be screened like in electromagnetism." ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_interaction [wikipedia.org] )

                if black holes existed, we should be able to see a black, lightless area around them.

                We have observed massive sources of gravity (affecting visible neighboring bodies) which are not emitting light, which appears to confirm the presence of the event horizon shielding a large object with a ton of gra

      • by daver00 (1336845)

        36 orders of magnitude greater in what sense? On the quantum level, yes, but there is a relativity to that. I don't count on an extremely potent, but small rare earth magnet from a hard drive being able to hold up an automobile against the power of the earths gravity. 36 orders of magnitude greater doesn't mean much in this sense. Of course a much larger electromagnet can do this easily. You may be thinking: 'yes, exactly' But what I am saying is that the premise of '36 orders of magnitude greater than grav

  • I hope ithe mission is not at the peak of the Sunspot cycle, as their space vehicle will be turned into individual atoms floating in space.

  • Areas like this are where NASA should be spending more of their resources to bridge the gap between the time when more grand expeditions (Moonbase, Mars) will become more economically feasible. I'm not saying we shouldn't go, but a trillion here and a trillion there tends to add up fast.

    That trillion dollar Mars mission GWB suggested a few years ago disappeared down the toilet faster than a lead burrito.

    We can receive much pure and applied science from projects such as this per dollar spent than we could f

    • disappeared down the toilet faster than a lead burrito

      I don't have much personal experience with lead burritos (none, actually), but I think it won't make it round the bend. So it will just sit there at the bottom, never quite going away.

      And THERE you are 100% correct - it's a project that will never quite die. There will always be someone who'll resurrect it for a few weeks, like a zombie, with many (returning to your analogy) flushing for all it's worth.

  • by barakn (641218)
    ... that there are actually active areas for them to see next April during their 8 minutes of telescope activity. This solar minimum has been very quiet and long-lasting.

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