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Don't visit the sun for the weather. Sure, you'll never have to bundle up (the sun's visible surface, or photosphere, measures a brisk 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, or 5,537 degrees Celsius, on average) — but you might be hard-pressed to find a windbreaker sleek enough to deflect the constant electric gusts of solar wind, or wellies thick enough to withstand the gargantuan plasma tsunamis that rampage across the star's surface for weeks at a time.
You may be able to avoid these annoyances in the chromosphere — the reddish middle layer of the sun that links the star's surface to its outer atmosphere, or corona — but that neighborhood is not without its hazards, either. This vast layer is marked by a constantly moving forest of plasma spears known as spicules.
Telescopes - Spicules - Streaks - Sun - Surface
When seen through solar telescopes, spicules look like long black streaks that blast out of the sun's surface for a few minutes at a time, then disappear. Closer up, each jet is actually about as wide as the Grand Canyon is long (roughly 300 miles, or 500 kilometers) and stands anywhere from 1,860 to 6,200 miles (3,000 to 10,000 km) over the sun's surface. These giant javelins of plasma move up to 90,00 mph (145,00 km/h) as they travel from the photosphere to the corona, and usually disappear within 10 minutes. At any given time, there are a few million spicules dancing on the sun's surface, but their brief life span makes them hard to study or understand.
At any given moment, millions of gigantic plasma jets called "spicules" dance across the surface of the sun. Now, scientists think they know why.
Paper - Today - Nov - Journal - Science
Now, a new paper published today (Nov. 14) in the journal Science claims to have figured out both the origin and the function of solar spicules, thanks to some high-definition...
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