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Can electric fields/currents be seen on the sun?

  1. Nov 7, 2013 #1
    My understanding is that fluid dynamics in the convective zone generate electric fields and are what drives the magnetic fields which are then pushed up into the photosphere by differential rotation.

    Question is are electric fields or currents also present in the plasma filled magnetic and coronal loops that can be seen on the surface? If so,

    1) can we detect the presence of them though some telescopic means or can they be expressed in formulas?
    2) Do they have a positive/negative charge or does the plasma neutralize them?

    Thanks!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 7, 2013 #2

    Chronos

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    How would you characterize the difference between electric fields and magnetic loops?
     
  4. Nov 7, 2013 #3
    Not sure you can, its just that we have other means that focus on the development of the magnetic features, means that include measurements of field strength and such, but rarely do we hear anything in regards to the energetic electric aspect. I suppose magnetic loops would explicitly imply that electric fields must be present, I was simply wondering if this is an area that is actively being studied the way solar magnetics are.
     
  5. Nov 7, 2013 #4

    Chronos

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    A moving charge always has both a magnetic and an electric field. They are characterized by a field called the electromagnetic field. In the case of the sun, where permanent magnets cannot exist, it is safe to assume all magnetic fields are the consequence of moving electric charges. A simple calculation is all that is necessary to convert magnetic field strength to an equivalent electric charge.
     
  6. Nov 7, 2013 #5
    L & P's Zeeman splitting puts the field strength of sunspots at about 1726 Gauss. (Been dropping at about 46-50G per year since 1998) What is the formula and what is the equivalent electric charge?
     
  7. Nov 7, 2013 #6

    Chronos

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    Last edited: Nov 7, 2013
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