Scientists for the first time measured the electric field of the Sun

 
Measuring the Sun's electric field - Cosmos Magazine
American scientists based on solar probe data NASA Parker Solar Probe measured the intensity of the flow of electrons - the main component of the solar wind, which for the first time made it possible to accurately calculate the potential of the electric field of the Sun. The results of the study are published in the journal The Astrophysical Journal.
The electric field of the Sun arises as a result of the interaction of protons and electrons formed during the separation of hydrogen atoms under the action of heat generated by thermonuclear fusion deep inside the Sun. Both particles make up the solar wind carried away from the solar surface towards the heliosphere's outer layer.
Some electrons are held in a stream by positively charged protons, and some, having a mass 1800 times less than that of protons, break away from them and return to the surface of the Sun. This movement of electrons determines the electric field of the Sun.
 
Physicists from the University of Iowa analyzed new data from the Parker Solar Probe, an automated spacecraft to study the sun's corona, which flew just 0.1 astronomical units from the star — closer than any ship before — and gained a new understanding of the Sun's electric field.
 
"The key point is that you can't take such measurements away from the Sun. According to one of the study's authors, Jasper Halekas, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy, you can only do them when you get closer to a university press release. It's like trying to understand a waterfall by looking at a river a mile downstream. The measurements we took at a distance of 0.1 astronomical units are like inside a waterfall."
Measuring the Sun's electric field - Cosmos Magazine
 
In particular, the researchers estimated the ratio of flying and returning electrons and more accurately than ever calculated the parameters of the electric field of the Sun, its width, and configuration.
"Electrons are trying to escape, and protons are trying to pull them back. This is the electric field," says Halekas. - If there was no electric field, all the electrons would rush away and disappear. But the electric field holds all the particles together as one homogeneous stream."
 
Researchers figuratively describe the electric field of the Sun in the form of a huge bowl, and electrons in the form of balls rolling along its inner surface at different speeds. Some electrons, or balls, are mobile enough to cross the edge of the bowl, while others gradually slow down and eventually slide to the bottom of the bowl.
 
"In fact, there is an energy boundary between those balls that leave the bowl and those that cannot, and it can be measured. Being close enough to the Sun, we can make accurate measurements of the distribution of electrons. First of all, we measure those electrons that return, and not those that fly away, "the scientist explains. - So we can determine how much of this acceleration is provided by the electric field of the Sun. That seems to be a very small part. It's not the main thing that gives a boost to the solar wind, but it points to other mechanisms that give more energy."
The authors hope that the results of their study will allow to form a more accurate picture of the solar wind - a jet of plasma that flies away from the Sun at a speed of millions of kilometers per hour and washes the Earth and other planets of the solar system, and also has a significant impact on the work of comical devices.
 

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