MessageToEagle.com

Mysterious Math Of the Solar Wind Deciphered By A Space Scientist!

22 February, 2013

Share this story:
Follow us:

MessageToEagle.com - For the first time, a set of equations that can help describe waves in the solar wind known as Alfven waves was created by Aaron Roberts, a space scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.,

His work is published in Physical Review Letters on Dec. 4, 2012.

"Since the 1970s, scientists have known that movement in the solar wind often has the characteristics of a kind of wave called an Alfvén wave," says Aaron Roberts, a space scientist at Goddard. "Imagine you have a jump rope and you wiggle one end so that it sends waves down the rope. Alfvén waves are similar, but the moving rope is a magnetic field line itself."



Click on image to enlarge

A constant stream of particles and electromagnetic waves streams from the sun toward Earth, which is surrounded by a protective bubble called the magnetosphere. A scientist at NASA Goddard has recently devised, for the first time, a set of equations that can help describe waves in the solar wind known as Alfven waves. Credit: European Space Agency (ESA)


The Alfvén waves in this case tended to have great consistency in height -- or amplitude, which is the common term when talking about waves -- but they are random in direction. You might think of it like a jump rope twirling, always the same distance from center, but nonetheless able to be in many places in space. Another way scientists have envisioned the waves is as a "random walk on a sphere." Again, always the same distance from a given center, but with a variable placement.

Such metaphorical descriptions are based on what instruments in space have, in fact, observed when they see magnetic waves go by in the solar wind. But it turns out that the equations to describe this kind of movement -- equations necessary to advance scientific models of the entire system -- were not easily found.

"The puzzle has been to figure out why the amplitude is so constant," says Roberts.

"But it's been very difficult to find equations that satisfy all the characteristics of the magnetic field."

Similar waves are, in fact, seen in light, known as polarized waves. But magnetic fields have additional constraints on what shapes and configurations are even possible.

Roberts found a way to overlap numerous waves of different wavelengths in such a way that they ultimately made the variation in amplitude as small as possible.

To his surprise, the equations Roberts devised matched what was observed more closely than he'd expected. Not only did the equations show waves of constant amplitude, but they also showed occasional random jumps and sharp changes -- an unexplained feature seen in the observations themselves.

"Overlapping the waves in this way gives us a way of writing down equations that we didn't have before," says Roberts. "It also has this nice consequence that it is more realistic than we expected, since it shows discontinuities we actually see in the wind. This is important for simulations and models where we want to start with initial conditions that are as close to the observed solar wind as we can get."

Of course, having an equation doesn't yet tell us the reason why the waves in the solar wind are shaped in this way. Nonetheless, equations that describe how the waves move open the door to increasingly accurate simulations that may well help explain such causes.

MessageToEagle.com

See also:
Earth's Magnetic Shielding Has Been "Severely Compromised" - It May Be In Danger!

Follow MessageToEagle.com for the latest news on Facebook and Twitter !

Don't Miss Our Stories! Get Our Daily Email Newsletter

Enter your email address:


Once you have confirmed your email address, you will be subscribed to the newsletter.

Recommend this article:


Odd Phenomenon Of The Red Rocks - Why Did All The Stones Suddenly Change Color?

Some years ago, back in, 2005, over the slopes of Mount Gongga, China all rocks suddenly turned red. In time, the entire region became known the "Red-Stone-Valley" and today it is a spectacular local tourist attraction. For many years, scientists have wondered what caused the stones to unexpectedly change color?

Subscribe To Our Space, Astronomy, Astrophysics, Earth and Xenology News!

Grab the latest RSS feeds right to your reader, desktop or mobile phone.

Subscribe to RSS headline updates from:
Powered by FeedBurner

Go to - MAIN PAGE

Copyright @ MessageToEagle.com All rights reserved.
Go to - MAIN PAGE


Advertise With Us!

Submissions

 Subscribe in a reader

Join Us On Facebook!

Other Popular Articles

Eyes on the Earth


Giant Viruses Are Ancient Living Organisms That Could Rewrite History Of Life On Earth

NASA's Satellites Examine Gigantic Force Of Nature We Cannot Control - Very Dangerous Super Typhoon Sanba

New Ambitious Mission Can Unlock Secrets Of Antarctica

Drones Will Over-Fly Hurricanes At Altitudes Greater Than 60,000 Feet - NASA's HS3 Mission Begins

Yellowstone Volcano: Scientists Try To Determine Risks For Future Eruptions


Lake In France Turns Red

This year, we have encountered the color red in places where we don't expect to see it. A while back the strange appearance of Azov Sea stunned residents who saw how the water had turned red. The red rocks in China have also puzzled scientists for a long time. Now, a lake in Southern France has also suddenly turned red.

Fighting Climate Change With Geoengineering - Controversial Idea Again In Focus! Will It Help Or Endanger Our Lives?
Environmental scientists have decided to reconsider once again a controversial idea of using futuristic ships to shoot salt water high into the sky over the oceans. Hopefully, the technique could reduce hurricane intensity and create...


Growing Stones An Incredible Geological Phenomena

Earth is an amazing planet and our nature is full of wonders. We have previously written about incredible singing plants. This time we would like to focus our readers' attention on another amazing geological phenomena, namely so-called growing stones. It is difficult to image that stones can really grow, but these stones seem to be alive!

CODITA: Measuring How Much Cosmic Dust Enters The Earth's Atmosphere

Do Gateways To The Underworld Open? Next Dangerous And Unexpected Opening In The Ground!

Giant Underwater Canyon Zhemchug Can Only Be Seen Entirely From Space


Yangtze River In China Turns Red

We have seen on a couple of occassions how lakes and seas have suddenly turned red. In August a lake in Southern France unexpectedly changed color and shortly before that the strange appearance of Azov Sea stunned residents who saw how the water had turned red....

Spectacular Fire-Devil Tornado Filmed Over Australia

Did A Huge Pacific Ocean Meteor Trigger The Catastrophic Ice Age?

W3Counter