We are forever being told that the sun is a vast gas ball of hydrogen and helium at the center of our solar system. But new evidence may help prove this isn't the case after all, according to solar experts who say the sun has an iron core.
A stunned NASA admits, "Astronomers knew they had witnessed something big. It was so big, it may have shattered old ideas about solar activity."
The vast global solar eruption covers ~10^9 km of the solar photosphere. The US space agency reports, "The whole solar hemisphere erupted simultaneously in an avalanche effect that had been triggered in the tiny solar core and propagated outwards" (NASA: Dec 13, 2010).
Scientist have confirmed that the explosion that occurred on August 1, 2010 is unprecedented in recorded history and caused filaments of magnetism to snap and explode creating enormous shock waves that raced across the stellar surface. This caused billion-ton clouds of hot gas to billow out into space.
This unprecedented event is claimed to give support to an alternative theory long held by Professor Oliver K. Manuel, a Postdoctoral Fellow of the University of California, Berkeley.
Event believed to be a Self Organized Criticality
In a never seen before occurrence, an entire hemisphere of the sun erupted simultaneously in an avalanche effect triggered from inside the compact solar core and propagated outwards; scientists are describing the astonishing happening as like the sand pile effect in Self Organised Criticality.
Self Organized Criticality (SOC) occurs in physics when a critical point is reached in a dynamic system in flux whereby the system radically alters its behavior or structure, for example, from being a solid to acting like a liquid.
SOC is one of a number of important discoveries made in statistical physics and related fields over the latter half of the 20th century, discoveries which relate particularly to the study of complexity in nature. Such new evidence, say Manuel, must now force solar scientists to think again.
Cliff Saunders, working for the Neutron-Repulsion Group, describes how our sun may now, in fact, be more like an atom rather than a huge gas ball. He explains, "In the atom, electrons occupy 99% of the volume and have less than 1% of the mass. In the Sun, the atmosphere and planets occupy 99% of the volume and may also have less than 1% of the mass."
Evidence Proves Solar Theories May Need to be Re-written
Controversy about our understanding of the sun has been fomenting for years. In 1980, solar science researcher, Ralph E. Juergens lamented, "The modern astrophysical concept that ascribes the sun's energy to thermonuclear reactions deep in the solar interior is contradicted by nearly every observable aspect of the sun."
The astrophysics establishment has long shunned the idea of the sun having any such iron core. But this momentous event is consistent with the theory that there is a tiny dense neutron core the size of a city powered by neutron repulsion. Professor Manuel believes there is a super-conducting iron-rich shell the size of a moon or small planet surrounding the neutron core.
Backing the theory is astrophysicist Carl A. Rouse, who calculated a tiny iron-rich solar core from helioseismology data, but he has also been ignored up until now.
Maverick's Theory made more Credible by Solar Eruption
Manuel of the University of Missouri-Rolla claims the event has 'Implications for Solar Eruptions and Climate' as documented in his seminal paper on the subject.
NASA's discovery of global solar eruptions is set to encourage a fresh look by scientists at Manuel's ideas that are further detailed in the Journal of Fusion Energy (2002).
The delighted University of Missouri-Rolla and ex-NASA man says that the event, contrary to modern theory, is new evidence for the Sun's tiny (~10 km), dense neutron core being powered by neutron repulsion, and/or the super-conducting iron-rich shell (~10^3 km) surrounding the neutron core.
"The August 1st event really opened our eyes," says Karel Schrijver of Lockheed Martin's Solar and Astrophysics Lab in Palo Alto, CA. "We see that solar storms can be global events, playing out on scales we scarcely imagined before."
The four key points made by the iron core theorists are:
1. We do not "see" the Sun;Time for 'Truthing' Says Solar Professor
2. We see waste products emitting light when they reach the top of the Sun's atmosphere (photosphere);
3. Smoke (H and He) from a neutron star;
4. The global eruption was triggered by the tiny, energetic, dense neutron-rich core of the Sun or by the iron-rich mantle that surrounds it.
This monumental solar eruption may finally jolt NASA out of its complacency about how the key driver of Earth's climate actually works. He sagely observes, "Although NASA seems to be catching up, after decades of 'group-think' it will be very difficult for NASA scientists to comprehend the Sun."
Indeed, this latest evidence is unsettling not just for accepted ideas about how our sun works but also impacts assumptions of how the sun effects Earth's climate. Oliver insists " Science is a continuous process of 'truthing' without ever claiming that you have the 'whole truth.'"
Manuel, O., Ninham & Friberg, 'Superfluidity in the Solar Interior: Implications for Solar Eruptions and Climate,' Journal of Fusion Energy 21 (2002) [193-198]