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10 April 2023
Astronomy, Electromagnetism

Zooming into Uranus, the James Webb Space Telescope revealed its ring structure in fine detail – see https://phys.org/news/2023-04-webb-world-image-uranus.html … Uranus has 13 rings – and 27 moons.

At https://phys.org/news/2023-04-webb-telescope-image-reveals-secrets.html … the James Webb Space Telescope has provided a detailed near infrared image of Cassiopeia A, thought to be a stellar remnant. Gas, dust, and other material left behind when a star dies – a supernovae leftover, according to mainstream thinking. However, various aspect of the new image are puzzling – such as a large green loop. This seems to be pockmarked with what looks like small bubbles. The shape and complexity is unexpected, we are told. There is also a lot of dust – which has not been dispersed or gobbled up by a black hole.

At https://phys.org/news/2023-04-laboratory-solar-flares-reveal-clues.html … we have a laboratory simulation of solar flares – the size of a banana. Corona loops are arches of plasma that protrude from the suface of the Sun. Magnetic field lines are highways fro charged particles – and plasma. Solar flares generate energetic particles and X-ray bursts – but what is the mechanism. The simulation reproduced the loops on the Sun and each loop is captured by a camera to study later. Coronal loops are  braided – a combination of strands. The structure is important to the generation of energetic particles and X-ray burst associated with solar flares. Plasma is a strong electrical conducter but when too much current tries to pass through a coronal loop it develops a corkscrew shaped instability – and individual strans of plasma star to break. Each broken strand converts more pressure on the remaining strands – and in the end the field line itself snaps. The X-ray burst occurs at the exact instant a strand breaks. The electric field then accelerates charged particles to extreme energy. As seen on the Sun and reproduced in the laboratory.

The research is ongoing but see also https://doi.org/10.1038/s41550-023-01941-x

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