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A monster loop that appears magnetically attached between region 1515 in the southern hemisphere and regions located in the northern hemisphere is now visible in the latest SDO images. The size of the gas filled loop is so large that you could easily fit 10 planet Earths inside the bottom diameter.
ScienceDaily (July 9, 2012) — A team of scientists has created an “MRI” of the Sun’s interior plasma motions, shedding light on how it transfers heat from its deep interior to its surface. The result, which appears in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, upends our understanding of how heat is transported outwards by the Sun and challenges existing explanations of the formation of sunspots and magnetic field generation.
“Our current theoretical understanding of magnetic field generation in the Sun relies on these motions being of a certain magnitude,” explained Shravan Hanasoge, an associate research scholar in geosciences at Princeton University and a visiting scholar at NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. “These convective motions are currently believed to prop up large-scale circulations in the outer third of the Sun that generate magnetic fields.”
“However, our results suggest that convective motions in the Sun are nearly 100 times smaller than these current theoretical expectations,” continued Hanasoge, also a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Plank Institute in Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany. “If these motions are indeed that slow in the Sun, then the most widely accepted theory concerning the generation of solar magnetic field is broken, leaving us with no compelling theory to explain its generation of magnetic fields and the need to overhaul our understanding of the physics of the Sun’s interior.”
As one big sunspot (AR1515) turns away from Earth, another one is turning toward our planet. AR1520, now emerging over the sun's southeastern limb, stretches more than 127,000 km (10 Earth diameters) from end to end:
AR1520 has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. So far, however, the sunspot's magnetic canopy is crackling with lesser C-flares. The calm before the storm? NOAA forecasters estimate an 80% chance of M-flares during the next 24 hours.