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Author Topic: Are sunspots actually solar hot-spots?  (Read 26723 times)

Offline Wilf James

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Are sunspots actually solar hot-spots?
« on: 05/08/2010 08:30:04 »
Wilf James  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Dear Chris,

I am very much a latecomer to the Naked Scientist website, so my question may have been answered already.

I have tried to get to grips with quantum physics to some degree.

One thing I have learned which is relevant is that a photon is emitted from an excited atom as the energy level in the atom drops. The wavelength/frequency of the light emitted depends on the the change of energy level in the atom in discrete steps. Electrons "fall" from one shell level to the next giving off photons at a given wavelength. These steps can be and are used to determine what sort of atoms are emitting light.

As far as I have been able to discover, only changes in the energy levels of atoms produce photons. I have never heard of photons being produced in any other way. If you know of another way to generate photons I would very much like to know.

This leads on to what I think is a frequently stated error about the sun.
The sun is very hot. The atoms in the sun are excited by the heat. The atoms emit photons as they cool.

The heat of the sun nearer its centre is so hot that some atoms lose their outer electron shells. At some point near the centre of the sun the atoms lose most of their electrons if not all of them.

The result is that there are fewer or no electrons available to drop drown from a higher energy level to a lower one. In consequence there are fewer photons emitted from a region that is very much hotter than the rest of the visible sun.

If fewer photons are emitted, the light level will be lower so that the region will appear to be darker. Since photons also carry heat, the region where fewer photons are emitted will appear to be cooler.
This is why I think that sunspots are extremely hot regions of the sun and NOT cooler regions as claimed in astronomy books..

Please can you tell what is wrong with my logic if it is wrong.


Wilf James
Letchworth Garden City

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 05/08/2010 08:30:04 by _system »


 

Offline Ophiolite

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Are sunspots actually solar hot-spots?
« Reply #1 on: 05/08/2010 12:06:57 »
One flaw in your logic is that you are assuming conditions that apply in the deeper layers of the sun - extensive ionisation of atoms - is equally prevalent in the surface layers. It isn't.

An observational flaw in your suggestion is that we can determine the temperature of various parts of of the visible sun through studying the distribution of emitted wavelenths and the sunspots are cooler.
 

Offline graham.d

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« Reply #2 on: 05/08/2010 12:47:45 »
"As far as I have been able to discover, only changes in the energy levels of atoms produce photons. I have never heard of photons being produced in any other way. If you know of another way to generate photons I would very much like to know."

Although not especially relevent to the discussion about the sun, photons are the quanta or particle representation of an electromagnetic wave (from radio waves to gamma rays). Obviously these do not have to be generated by an electron transition in an atom. Radio waves result from the movement of charge (which may be electrons) and gamma rays from nuclear reactions. Photons are regarded as the "force carrier" in electromagnetism.
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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Are sunspots actually solar hot-spots?
« Reply #3 on: 05/08/2010 22:51:26 »
Wilf you are missing out on understanding a fundamental property of all normal matter. Any solid liquid or gas with a reasonable density and temperature has its atoms moving and jostling together and in this process emits electromagnetic radiation (quanta if you like) each time atoms bump into each other they accelerate and can emit photons of a wide range of frequencies and this depends precisely on the temperature of the material and is by far the most probable source of radiation from a body.  Everyone is familiar with this in the process of heating an iron poker in a fire until it is red hot and glows.  This is known as thermal radiation.

The radiation and absorption of spectral lines depends on precise and uncommon condition but it is very useful for identifying the materials in stars.  This is mostly seen as absorption lines against the background of thermal radiation at about 6000 K which is the temperature of the sun.  The thermal energy emitted by materials increases as the fourth power of the temperature of the material so even a slightly cooler patch of the sun is much dimmer and dark in contrast to the brightness of the hotter parts  if you were to look only at the core of a sunspot you would see that it is radiating quite brightly.
 

Offline Wilf James

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Are sunspots actually solar hot-spots?
« Reply #4 on: 06/08/2010 11:54:39 »
Some of the replies I have had to my suggestion that sunspots are hot have claimd that the observed temperature is lower than the photosphere.

This goes back to my original point - photons are emitted when electrons fall from one level to a lower one. How is temperature measured remotely? It must use some form of detector. The only detectors available are photo-operated, whether they are thermometers or bolometers. As far as I know the temeperature can only be determined by the number of photons emitted. If there aren't many photons, the observed temperature will be lower.

The other approach to the same subject is to consider the sun as a ball with an extremely hot centre. We observe its photosphere which is obviously cooler than its interior. If, as I think is the case, looking at a sunspot is a bit like looking down a crater of an active volcano, the view is of a level below the photosphere "surface". I presume that if this  is right, the view is of a hotter region as would be the case with a volcano.

There are other aspects of sunspots as described in most astronomy books that do not make any sense at all to me.  It is claimed that they are caused by magnetic fields in the books. As an electronic engineer of more than 50 years standing I KNOW that a magnetic field is ONLY a property of an electric current. There is NO way to create a magnetic field otherwise. The "standard" theory for the generation of sunspots was originated by Babcock & co. This requires horizontal magnetic loops to become "entangled" somehow. The only way such magnetic loops could be created is for cylindrical currents to be created like worms across the sun's surface. I can't think of any thermal process that could create the wormlike cylindrical currents across thousands of miles over the sun's surface to create the magnetic loops that Babcock's theory is based on. There is magnetism there alright but not Babcock's magnetism. The net output from the sun is OUTWARD in the form of ionised gas. Streams of ionised gas are currents which have magnetic fields around them.

I invite anyone to find a way to "entangle" two or more magnetic fields. A practical example of three lots of magnetic fields inter-operating is in a cathode ray tube as used for television or a computer monitor. They don't get "entangled" in any way. They create a resultant field field in proportion to their strengths and orientations. The resultant field acts on the electron beam, deflecting it appropriately. TV sets and computer monitors would not work if this was not true.
I invite anyone to study how magnetism is generated and used in a CRT and to compare it with the tosh quoted by many astronomers about magnetism in space.

A jet of ionised gas is directly comparable to the beam of electrons in a CRT. The beam of electrons is a negative current that has a cylindrical magnetic field around it. A jet emerging from the sun is most likely positively charged, consisting of atoms missing electrons. The orientation of the magnetic field around a jet of positively charged particles is opposite that of an electron beam but is in every other way similar. If, as I suspect, a sunspot is like the crater of a solar volcano, it will be the source of such a positively ionised jet.

AROUND the jet will be an extremely intense magnetic field. The jet would be so hot that it would not emit a significant number of photons and would be invisble in comparison with the suns's photosphere.

The next bit is speculation based on what I have written here.

What if a solar prominence emerges from one sunspot and falls back to the sun's surface, to create a second sunspot?

The ionised gas in prominences is optically dim and can usually only be seen during eclipses. Is it because it is too hot to emit many photons? If this is the case, it tends to support my hypothesis that sunspots are extremely hot regions that are in some ways comparable to the craters of active volcanoes on Earth.

I invite the members of this forum who are interested in this topic to find images of prominences. Then to estimate how high they get above the visible surface of the sun. Then, having done that, calculate the energy needed to launch a kilogram of matter in  a prominence to the height reached against the suns gravity. (28g) Then think what the energy source could be to launch the prominence. The only energy source I know of in the sun is heat, lots of it.
 

Offline graham.d

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« Reply #5 on: 06/08/2010 13:16:44 »
The sun behaves as a good approximation to a blackbody radiator. Although there are emission and absorption spectra interspersed, the dominant behaviour conforms to a blackbody radiation. The photon emissions are not primarily due to the energy level transitions of electrons within atoms. Blackbody radiation behaves in a way that there is a specific relationship between the emitted flux and the wavelength of the em radiation. Both the normal surface of the sun and sunspots have this characteristic and the curves correspond to different temperatures, the sunspots seemingly at a much lower temperature. Sunspots often occur in pairs and it is thought that this is because of a curved magnetic field "leaving"
one spot and "entering" the other spot. The presence of the magnetic field strongly inhibits the free movement of the surface plasma reducing the effective temperature. I believe this is the theory.

That ionised gas emissions can only be see during eclipses is just a matter of practical optics. The effect of an eclipse can be created optically, in a telescope, and then the emissions are observable despite the huge heat/light source nearby that otherwise tends to overwhelm the optics with unwanted multiple internal reflections.

I have not studied the subject but there are many complex convection currents within the structure of a star like the sun. These do not always behave in a regular way - maybe chaos theory could explain things - and the resulting magnetic fields that result are very complex. Such behaviour has been modelled though, so I don't think it is inexplicable.
 

Offline Ophiolite

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« Reply #6 on: 06/08/2010 15:35:42 »
Wilf,
since entangled magnetic fields have been observed with devices such as this, do you think it would not be more productive to consider how they arise, rather than to deny their existence?
 

Offline Wilf James

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« Reply #7 on: 07/08/2010 09:48:35 »
To Ophiolite and others who refer to magnetism.
Any electrical engineer will tell you that magnetism is a force that is in some ways comparable to gravity and the electrostatic force.

There is only one sort of magnetism in the same way as there is only one sort of gravity. Two or more magnetic fields can only join each other or cancel each other to varying degrees. The basic rules of mechanics apply as in such an elementary concept as the triangle of forces.

The way that the electron beam is controlled in a cathode ray tube is an example of the way that three discrete magnetic fields interact. The position of the spot on a CRT screen is the resultant of the interaction of the three fields. The horizontal deflection is caused by a vertical field. The vertical deflection is caused by a horizontal field, the two fields working together to act on the electron beam's magnetic field which is cylindrical. CRT monitors work very well. I am using one now. the precision of the control of the electron beam is such that the text I am writing now is as clear as if it had been printed on paper by letterpress. A magnetic deflection CRT would not work if magnetic fields could become entangled. Magnetic fields are not discrete entities like strings or ribbons that can become entangled. They are stresses in spacetime.

I think that the idea of magnetic fields becoming entangled arose from the concept of magnetic lines of force. They are as real as isobars or contours on a map. They do not exist. Can you tangle isobars or contour lines?

There is no electronic device that can detect a magnetic field line. Magnetic field strengths are continually variable with no steps or jumps. The direct analogy is gravity. The strength of gravity is continually variable without any steps or jumps in it. Can you show me where a gravitic line of force exists?

The critical basis for all discussions about magnetism that very many astronomers ignore is that magnetism is a PROPERTY of an electric current. If permanent magnets are excluded, magnetism is ONLY a property of an electric current. Magnetism cannot exist in isolation.  If magnetism is detectable, there must be an electric current that has created it. The next time that "entangled" magnetic fields are mentioned, please think of the electric currents needed to create such an entanglement. Electric currents can only be initiated by the expenditure of energy. Guess where the energy comes from to produce electric currents in the sun.


 

Offline Wilf James

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« Reply #8 on: 07/08/2010 10:39:56 »
To Graham D.
You mention a black body radiator.
The ONLY radiation that can be detected by instruments consists of photons.
The emission and absorbtion spectra are affected by the nature of the atoms involved and their energy levels.

The basic question I have asked myself is:
What sort of photon emission can occur when atoms are so excited that they have lost most of, or all of their electron shells?

The circumstantial evidence is in two parts.
The interior of the sun is hotter than the exterior.
The density of ionised particles in the solar wind is greater when sunspots are visible.

The conclusion from this is that sunspots are a source of ionised particles.
Since the major cause of ionisation of atoms is heat, these particles must be produced in a very hot region. I therefore conclude that sunspots are, or are associated with, very hot regions.

I go back to a fundamental question that I still do not have a good answer for.
If photons are only emitted from atoms when electrons fall from higer energy levels to lower ones, what happens when the energy level in atoms is so high that they have lost most of if not all their electron shells? If electrons can't fall to lower energy levels because of the extreme heat, how can photons be produced?

If photons can't be produced by this means, the apparent radiation from the atoms concerned will be low if it is not zero. Photon density is our yardstick for judging energy levels.

We know that the sun's heat ionises atoms. That means the atoms lose electrons and become positively charged. The proton density of the solar wind at the Earth's orbit is around 5 (unneutralised) protons per cubic centimetre. Lots of electrons are lost somehow. If electrons are lost, so are photons. If the apparent photon density is low, the perceived energy level is PRESUMED to be low.

I can't prove what I think is the case but I think that when atoms are hot enough, they can't emit photons. If extremely hot atoms can't emit photons, they are perceived to be cool because photons are our only way to detect energy levels.
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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Are sunspots actually solar hot-spots?
« Reply #9 on: 07/08/2010 23:17:33 »
Wilf READ AND UNDERSTAND WHAT I SAID  05/08/2010 22:51:26 !!!!!

All materials above absolute zero radiate electromagnetic energy in the form of photons as a result of the movement of the atoms and molecules.  This radiation is called black body radiation and has a characteristic spectrum that depends on only the temperature of the material.  This has nothing to do with electrons changing energy levels which is a different process altogether.

see  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_body for a bit more explanation
« Last Edit: 07/08/2010 23:19:53 by Soul Surfer »
 

Offline Wilf James

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« Reply #10 on: 08/08/2010 09:20:23 »
To Soul Surfer,
I am familiar with the concept of black body radiation.
It is a factor that I have had to deal with when I did a lot of colour photography using  chemical processing.

My argument is based on whether photons are emitted from a source or not. A black body implies that there is quantised radiation based on Plank's and Einstein's work. The quantised radiation consists of photons.

This is a selected quotation from the Wikipedia entry for Blackbody Radiation.

"Today, these quanta are called photons and the black-body cavity may be thought of as containing a gas of photons."
(Presumably some of these photons are emitted in order to be detected.)

The Blackbody radiation which is interpreted as a temperature depends on the photons available. The most available photons will be those from atoms that can cool enough to enable electrons to fall from a higher energy state to a lower one. There is a region where this can occur that I think is associated with sunspots.

If, as I hypothesise, a sunspot is a source of solar vulcanism, the ejecta will be in the form of invisible highly ionised gas. The gas will leave the solar surface at an extremely high velocity and reach a great height above the sun's surface.

I can offer information calculated from an image of a prominence photographed in infra-red by NASA. The prominence in the image has a visible height above the sun's surface of at least 215,000 kilometres and extends around the sun's circumference 600,000 kilometres. For something to reach the height of 215,000 kilometres above the sun's surface, it must have an initial upward velocity of at least 343,249m/s or 767,827mph or 213.285 miles per second. (The calculation that derived this figure assumes no air resistance.)

As hot gas rises it expands and cools.

Could the observed Blackbody radiation be obtained from this cooling gas that is optically invisible but covers the region of a sunspot as seen from Earth?

I leave you to calculate how much energy would be needed to project just one kilogram of solar matter to a height of 215,000 kilometres above the sun's apparent surface - against 28g. Then think what the energy source must be to launch ??? kilograms. I think it is in the form of a colossal level of heat. I think that at such a level of heat, most atoms have lost most of if not all of their electrons. If electrons are scarce, there can't be many photons to observe.


 

Offline Soul Surfer

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« Reply #11 on: 08/08/2010 12:25:30 »
What I am trying to tell you is that you are wrong on all counts,  The temperature of the gas in the middle of sunspots is easily and accurately measurable from the earth by looking at is black body spectrum.  This includes any general velocities that it may have.  As I have said the radiation does NOT!! originate from a rearrangement of electrons but from the collisions between the ionised atoms themselves and is not at a precise frequency but over a broad spectrum relating to the energies (temperature) of the atoms and the nature of the collision. OK each individual collision results in the emission of a particular photon frequency but it is not a spectral line.

The energy of the prominences comes from electromagnetic interactions and the directions of flow can be seen to follow magnetic fields, which themselves can be measured remotely using the Zeeman effect in the line spectrum absorption (taken from the black body spectrum) that is also present.

If the sunspot was hotter, its own black body radiation would be much more intense and would dominate and pass through the cooler layer you think might be masking the measurements.  Sunspots would appear as bright blue objects on the surface of the sun!  You really need to appreciate the way the laws of physics work and be prepared to accept the observations and models of people who have a great deal more experience than you (or me for that matter!)
« Last Edit: 08/08/2010 12:31:53 by Soul Surfer »
 

Offline syhprum

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« Reply #12 on: 08/08/2010 14:19:50 »
It was suggested in the 19 century that Sunspots were cool enough to support life, we now know that they are about 2000K cooler than the photosphere.
 

Offline Farsight

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« Reply #13 on: 08/08/2010 15:13:56 »
Wilf, have a look at Kinetic Theory re heat. A hot gas is hot because the atoms are moving fast. No one atom has any property of temperature or hotness, that's just an emergent property of motion. Now apply this to say hydrogen, where the electron has some kind of motion around the proton. Now strip away the electron, and you take away the motion too. So you're left with a proton. It might be moving fast within a plasma along with electrons, and thus the plasma itself is hot. But if it isn't, it's cold. So maybe you could apply your reasoning and say this is why the sunspot is cooler than the surrounding photosphere.

 

Offline Wilf James

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« Reply #14 on: 08/08/2010 16:00:31 »
To Farsight
I refer back to what I wrote in reply to Soul Surfer.

If sunspots are cooler than the surrounding photosphere they must have been radiating heat somehow. The concept of the black body radiator applies. If a sunspot is cool it must have lost a lot of heat. Where did the heat go? Since heat is the primary cause of convection, there should be evidence of the convected gases to account for the loss of heat. The convected gases would be ionised and have a magnetic field around them that should be detectable.

Since sunspots are a relatively long lived phenomenon, and heat ALWAYS travels from the hotter to the cooler, why isn't heat from the rest of the sun travelling towards them to warm them up? There is plenty of heat available for this purpose but no evidence that heat is being transferred into sunspots.

The logical answer to my mind is that the heat is travelling the other way, Sunspots are hotter than their surroundings.
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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« Reply #15 on: 08/08/2010 16:14:19 »
Wilf there are other processes that can remove heat (or energy) from a system the notable ones in operation on the sun are electromagnetic.  Where do you think all the energy that uses the electromagnetic field to fling the material out with such velocities come from?  The strong magnetic fields associated with sunspots forces the charged atoms and electrons to move coherently in processes called    magnetohydrodynamics  this turns a lot of the random heat energy from areas of the sun into very high coherent velocities in particular directions the reduction in random velocities is, as we said cooling, so the temperature in these areas falls.     You must also remember that a good sized sunspot is about as big as the earth.  Do you expect to feel much of the heat from a volcano in iceland? conduction is a process that is irrelevant on these space and time scales abd convection is slow and on a much smaller scale.  This can be seen it in the granulation of the sun's surface
 

Offline Wilf James

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« Reply #16 on: 08/08/2010 17:23:08 »
Dear Soul Surfer,
My previous reply to your posting disappeared.
I wish that I had taken a copy of it before I got sidetracked.

I said in my lost reply that I consider myself to be an expert on electricity and magnetism and the misuse of the terms magnetism and electromagnetism got me started on my attempts to correct what many astronomers have written. I have worked with electricity and electronics all my life. I am now 74.

I will try to enumerate the basic facts of electricity and magnetism so that you can see for yourself where a problem lies in what you wrote.

1. Magnetism is a PROPERTY of an electric current. (Permanent magnets excluded.)
2. Electromagnetism creates radiation. It is an oscillatory phenomenon.
3. Magnetism is generally a static phenomenon. It causes NO radiation.
4. The prime energy source in the sun is heat.
5. The heat of the sun causes convention of the gases in the sun's atmosphere. The convected gases are generally ionised and form an electric current. Such a stream of ionised convected gases will have a magnetic field around it.
6. The ionised gases in the sun's atmosphere are hot enough to emit electromagnetic radiation in the form of heat and or light.

From my point of view, any explanation that mentions magnetism or electromagnetism as a motivating force is based on a false premise. The only motivating force in the sun is heat.

I got started in my quest to deal with inaccuracies with the ludicrous explanation of sunspots proposed by Babcock. There are no such things as magnetic lines of force. They are as real as gravitic lines of force and contours on a map. Even now you can find Babcock's stupidity on Wikipedia.

In my lost contribution I said that many astronomers treat electromagnetism and magnetism as interchangeable when they are not. They seldom if ever refer to the electric currents that create the magnetism in the first place.

As I thought that Babcock's explanation of sunspots was rubbish, I began to wonder what they are and what caused them.

I started from first principles. (This is a simplified summary.)
1. The interior of the sun is hotter than the exterior.
2. Heat is continually lost from the sun by several mechanisms.
3. One mechanism is visible in granulation where gases burst forth in a manner comparable to steam emerging from boiling water.
The next item is hypothetical.
4. What would happen if a very large bubble of gas was temporarily trapped beneath the surface of the sun and sudden;y burst forth? Would it leave a hole?
5. Since such a bubble of gas would have come from a hotter region below the surface of the sun it would be extremely hot and ionised.
6. The hole, if there is one, would be an aperture that would permit a view into the sun's depths where it would be presumably hotter than the photosphere.
7. Would the interior of the hole appear bright or dark?
Images of sunspots seem to indicate that they are holes.
I hypothesise that the inside of the hole would be dark because of an absence of photons.

Another lost posting covers sunspots seen from the other point of view.

If sunspots are cooler regions, they must have lost more heat than the surrounding photosphere. They presumably lost heat by causing convection of ionised gases. The column of covecting ionised gases would be an an electric current with a magnetic field around it. Such a magnetic field would be detectable. I have yet to hear of such a magnetic field being detected.

Since sunspots are apparently long lived, and there is plenty of heat available, why isn't there any evidence of the heat from the surrounding photosphere being transferred into the sunspots? Heat ALWAYS goes from the hotter to the cooler but I have never come across any sign that heat is being transferred into sunspots. I find it very strange that cool sunspots can hang around for days without being warmed up in the hottest place in the solar system.

My conclusion is that sunspots are hotter than the photosphere and powered by the heat from the sun's interior.





 

Offline Soul Surfer

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« Reply #17 on: 08/08/2010 18:21:25 »
YOU ARE WRONG!   YOUR PREMISES AND UNDERSTANDING ARE WRONG 

I too  am a retired expert professional in electricity and magnetism  MIEE  I am also a Member of the Institute of Physics and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.  I really do know what I am talking about.   The thermal and magnetic effects in sunspots are well observed and broadly understood although I am prepared to agree we have a lot to learn in the detail.  The article on sunspots in wikipaedia seems to be OK on a cursory glance.  I have looked up the work by Babcock and see no reason for your tirade and do not consider it to be "ludicrous".  From my own personal experience magnetohydrodynamic processes are very often counterintuitive.  As I have pointed out if sunspots were hotter than the rest of the sun they would appear bright not dark.   How then do you explain the experience of solar flares?   as cooling ! ?  :-)

You seem to be either a troll or a loony. I have tried hard to explain in detail where you are going wrong and clearly you are just not listening and thinking. Unless you start talking sensibly I will terminate my contribution to this discussion as a waste of my valuable time.
« Last Edit: 08/08/2010 23:30:30 by Soul Surfer »
 

Offline Ophiolite

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« Reply #18 on: 09/08/2010 12:45:30 »
I find it very strange that cool sunspots can hang around for days without being warmed up in the hottest place in the solar system.
Sunspots are dynamic entities, not static ones. Therein lies your answer.
 

Offline Wilf James

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« Reply #19 on: 09/08/2010 13:29:05 »
Dear Soul Surfer,
This loony has based his knowledge on what really happens with electricity and magnetism and NOT on what some mathematicians think happens.

I start with Maxwell.
Maxwell's equations, on which a lot of later works concerning electricity and magnetism are based, directly conflict with what can be observed with the simplest apparatus.
The apparatus needed comprises a battery, a small torch lamp some wire and a magnetic compass.
If the wire is wound into a solenoid connected in series with the lamp and the circuit connected to the battery, the lamp will light and the compass needle will be deflected if it is near the solenoid.
Now remove the battery and connect the wires together that connected to the battery.
Check if the lamp lights or if the compass needle is deflected.
In most cases nothing will happen.
Next get a small bar magnet and find some static arrangement that will make the lamp light in any circuit configuration you can imagine without a battery included.

These simple tests will conclusively prove to the unbiased onlooker that Maxwell's claim that electricity and magnetism are equivalent is false. Electricity is a current which is powered by some form of energy. Every continuous electric current in a wire has a stationary magnetic field around it. Putting a stationary magnetic field around a wire will not produce an electric current. This is why I have doubts about any explanation concerning electricity and magnetism based however remotely on Maxwell's equations.

I continue with the basic properties of magnetism.
Magnetism is a form of stress in space-time comparable to gravity and the electrostatic force.
Magnetism has the unique property of taking the shortest possible path. A magnet attracts ferrous objects because ferrous objects offer a shorter magnetic path than free space.
An example of the way magnetism takes the shortest magnetic path can be seen in a magnetically controlled cathode ray tube. The annular or cylindrical field around the electron beam constricts it. In a television or a computer monitor this constriction is organised to make the beam as small in diameter as possible when it reaches the display screen.
The stress in space-time caused by magnetism is continuous and follows the inverse square law. There are no steps or jumps in the strength of a magnetic field in the same way as there are no steps or jumps in a gravitic field. There are no lines of force in a magnetic field. (This is why any explanation of phenomena in terms of magnetic lines is misleading or even stupid.)

Two parallel conductors carrying a direct current in the same direction are attracted to each other. Their magnetic fields join together. (This action is used in a solenoid to concentrate a magnetic field.)  Correspondingly, two parallel conductors carrying direct currents in opposite directions repel each other.
Two or more close streams of ionised gas carrying steady currents in the same direction will join together forming a joint current and magnetic field.

The magnetic constriction around an electron beam or a stream of ionised gas is proportional to the speed of travel and the density of the beam or stream. In other words it is proportional to the effective current.

These are phenomena that I have directly observed on Earth. I therefore cannot understand the concept of current sheets frequently referred to in discussions concerning magnetohydrodynamics. If a stream of ionised gas is projected from a thin rectangular aperture, the constrictive effect of the magnetic field around the stream will compress it into a cylindrical form. For me, a cylinder is NOT a sheet.

The only way such a current sheet could form would be if the current concerned did not obey the laws of electricity and magnetism as I know them and have observed them to be on Earth.

The explanation of magnetohudrodynamics as explained in Wikipedia describes currents and magnetic fields that do not follow the behaviours of electric currents and magnetic fields on Earth. The description may be very satisfactory mathematically but not, as I think, empirically.

If you can devise a way to create a magnetic line of force or a continuous current sheet on Earth, I will happily change my name from Wilf to Loony. In the meantime I will tend to disbelieve explanations of phenomena based purely on mathematical analysis. I have found that empirical testing always works best.

I still ask why, if sunspots are cooler than the photosphere, why doesn't the heat available flow from the photosphere to warm them up? Some sunspots last for weeks without being warmed up. Are they insulated from the photosphere in some way?  Since heat ALWAYS flows from the hotter to the cooler, what strange mechanism keeps sunspots cool - if they are cool?

Since the density of the solar wind is higher when sunspots are present, ionised gases must be escaping from sunspots. These ionised gases are invisible. They only become visible when they excite atoms in the upper atmosphere near the magnetic poles causing the aurorae. Are the sources they come from invisible too?
 

Offline graham.d

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« Reply #20 on: 09/08/2010 13:37:51 »
Wilf, I think you have shifted from asking questions to making assertions that would qualify as a new theory of electromagnetism. I doubt that there are too many physicists here that could have a reasoned debate starting with the premise that Maxwell's equations are wrong.
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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« Reply #21 on: 09/08/2010 15:45:21 »
Wilf you are clearly obsessed with there being some fundamental difference between a varying magnetic field created by a a current in an electrical wire and a  "static" magnetic field created by a "permanent" magnet.  this is not the case.  The permanent magnet is only a vast array of tiny electrical currents associated with unpaired electrons in electron orbitals in the atoms of a ferromagnetic material held in position by the crystal structure at low temperatures and forced into that position at some time in the past by a powerful magnetic field.
« Last Edit: 09/08/2010 16:20:09 by Soul Surfer »
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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« Reply #22 on: 09/08/2010 16:19:56 »
Your statement re maxwells equations is incorrect electricity and magnetism are NOT stated to be equivalent, they are differentially equivalent.  That is a changing electrical field produces a magnetic field and a changing magnetic field produces an electrical field and this fully explains the results in your "anomalous" experiment with a static magnet.  You need to move the magnet to light the lamp as can well be seen with shake and go torches.  It seems to me that you may not understand differential equations and vector calculus properly.  This is essential for a full understanding of electromagnetic processes.
 

Offline imatfaal

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« Reply #23 on: 09/08/2010 16:38:12 »
Wilf,  Maxwell is far more complicated that an equivalence between magnetism and electricity; Faraday's law shows that the curl of the electric field is related to the change in magnetic field over time and Gauss's un-named law demonstrated that there can be no magnetic monopole or charge (quite distinct from electric).  He relates magnetism and electricity and their fields but he does not equate them.

Maxwell's law have been tested and checked relentlessly for many years - not least that the speed of light that can be calculated from them - and cannot be easily jettisoned without showing a real failing.

Matthew

 

Offline Soul Surfer

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« Reply #24 on: 09/08/2010 19:34:33 »
wilf at one point you mention you would like to know how relativity fits into electricity and magnetism. 

It is quite possible to derive the existence of magnetism by the application of relativity to classical electrostatics.

see   http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=6685.0 for a fuller discussion

gravity also demonstrates the same process via an effect called gravitomagnetism (or frame dragging) and there is a probe in orbit around the earth (gravity probe b) trying to measure this effect as accurately as possible.
 

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« Reply #24 on: 09/08/2010 19:34:33 »

 

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