Magnetic fields of stars - a breakthrough?

22 Aug 2010

At ... a University of Dundee press release claims a breakthrough in the study of magnetic fields - which will add to what we know about stars including our Sun. The team, from a magnetohydrodynamics research group, used computer simulation of plasma in the atmosphere of the Sun and by looking at how the magnetic field responded to plasma they have uncovered what they say are now rules that govern, or exact influence, over the solar atmosphere. As such, they hope to be able to predict how the Sun will behave. They first investigated how magnetic field braiding works and they now know these break up and reconnect and they now think they know how this is possible. There are of course some inbuilt assumptions in the computer simulation but the research is all part of the theory of astrophysical plasma and forms part of an attempt to understand how stars work - and how our Sun affects climate and life on earth. The actual paper is appearing in the latest edition of Physical Review Letters.