The sun is the source of all lifeon our planet. Without the sun, there would be no life. However, despite the fact that astrophysicists around the world have long been studying the structure of the main star in our planetary system, many processes occurring inside the Sun itself are still covered with a veil of secrecy. In order to better understand how the star is arranged, a group of American scientists built in its laboratory, "The Sun in Miniature."
Why build an artificial sun
The installation was called Big Red Ball and shedesigned to generate and simulate the behavior of solar plasma. Responsible for the development team of the University of Wisconsin Madison, led by physicist Carey Forester. As scientists reported in an interview with Nature Physics, reactions generated inside the Big Red Ball can mimic the features of the solar magnetic field. This will allow recreating phenomena that have never been observed on Earth before.
By and large, the Big Red Ball models onlysome of the phenomena coming inside the Sun, nevertheless, observation of what happens to the solar plasma, but on a smaller scale, will help shed light on the origin and mechanics of such phenomena as, for example, the solar wind.
This job is incredibly exciting, saysElizabeth Jensen, a physicist working for the Big Red Ball team. The sun still remains surprisingly poorly understood. And one of the biggest mysteries is the way the solar wind works, a stream of charged particles of gas and plasma that flows from the surface of the Sun at extremely high speeds.
How does the artificial sun
In general terms, the Big Red Ball ishollow, filled with helium plasma, three-meter sphere. An extremely powerful system of magnets for generating a magnetic field is installed in the center of the apparatus. In fact, Big Red Ball repeats the structure of the Sun, but in miniature. The most interesting thing started when scientists tested the installation.
This is interesting: How will our Sun die?
Held by the power of its internal magneticnuclei, particles mainly moved in the limited space of the sphere, rotating around the center. But when the rotation reached a speed of 22,000 miles per hour (almost 35.5 thousand kilometers per hour), the plasma broke free of the sphere with great speed.
"This critical threshold represents the point,in which the plasma has acquired enough energy to overcome its magnetic limitations. The released particles had their own internal magnetic field, which allowed them to pick up speed. The modeling showed us a simplified version of how, like so the solar wind, it is possible to overcome the attraction of the Sun, which (especially at the equator of the star) is extremely strong. ”
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