When the Sun is observed in X-ray or extreme ultraviolet wavelengths, hundreds of bright and compact structures with a rounded shape and sizes similar to that of our planet Earth can be easily distinguished in the solar corona. These structures are known as Coronal Bright Points or CBPs and they consist of sets of magnetic loops that connect areas of opposite magnetic polarity on the solar surface. These loops confine the solar plasma and in them, by mechanisms that have been debated for many years among solar physicists, the gas remains with temperatures of several million degrees, emitting copious amounts of energy for hours and days and thus constituting one of the key structures of the solar atmosphere. Since the 1990s, it has been theorized that a large part of CBPs originate from the convergence of opposite magnetic field polarities on the solar surface. During that approach, a process known as magnetic reconnection would give rise to magnetic loops rooted in the photosphere, while releasing enough energy to heat them up. Until now, all the models that have tried to explain the CBPs following this hypothesis have been very idealized, moreover imposing the convergence of opposite polarities in an artificial way that does not reflect how it occurs in the Sun. Recently, using a state-of-the-art numerical code and two of the most powerful supercomputers in Europe, CBPs have been modeled with enough realism to unravel the mechanisms that generate them, being also able to explain different characteristics observed from space satellites. In addition, it has been possible to make predictions about the coldest regions under a CBP and about their small-scale structure. Both questions have not yet been addressed from the observational point of view and will require very high spatial resolution data to be confirmed, data that are expected to be obtained with the next generation of solar instrumentation.
It may interest you
The amount and complexity of data delivered by modern galaxy surveys has been steadily increasing over the past years. New facilities will soon provide imaging and spectra of hundreds of millions of galaxies. Extracting coherent scientific information from these large and multi-modal data sets remains an open issue for the community and data-driven approaches such as deep learning have rapidly emerged as a potentially powerful solution to some long lasting challenges. This enthusiasm is reflected in an unprecedented exponential growth of publications using neural networks, which have goneAdvertised on
An international collaboration, with the participation of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), determines with an unprecedented level of precision the mass, age and rotation profile of the core of a massive pulsating star. Known as HD 192575, it has been observed by the NASA space telescope TESS continuously for more than a year. The results shed new light on how such stars are internally structured and how they evolve until their death, when they explode as supernovae and form neutron stars and black holes. The scientific team has also used observations made with the MercatorAdvertised on
An international scientific team led by researchers at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has discovered the presence of two planets with Earth-like masses in orbit around the star GJ 1002, a red dwarf not far from the Solar System. Both planets are in the habitability zone of the star “Nature seems bent on showing us that Earth-like planets are very common. With these two we now know 7 in planetary systems quite near to the Sun” explains Alejandro Suárez Mascareño, an IAC researcher, who is the first author of the study accepted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophysics. TheAdvertised on