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Electric field of the Sun

  1. Dec 26, 2008 #1
    Sorry if this is the wrong forum (its difficult to tell)

    What is the electric field strength of the Sun, how is it measured and what is its origin?

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 26, 2008 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    The question is appropriate for this forum as it pertains to solar plasma physics.

    There are electric fields within the plasma that constitutes the sun, and the field exists among the free nuclei, free electrons and ions. Basically an electric field exists between or among + and - charges. As far as we know, the sun is electrically neutral.

    Here is a reference. Unfortunately the full paper must be purchased.

    Electric fields in the solar atmosphere: A review
  4. Dec 27, 2008 #3
    I suppose what I'm asking for is the Electric field strength of the Sun as measured from the Earth. I assume that this electric field both accelerates and maintains the solar wind.
  5. Dec 27, 2008 #4
    or am I wrong to assume this?
  6. Jan 5, 2009 #5
    There should be an electric field in the corona/heliosphere, owing the fact that electrons and protons have a much different mass. But, this field is too small to measure.

    There are some theories that the solar wind dynamics are related to this field, the 'exospheric theory'. But, most in the field dont consider that the wind is driven by the electric field. One thing to consider is that the wind is quasineutral, so that the net force from a large scale field is zero.

    The standard model of the solar wind posits that it is drived by thermal pressure gradients, analogous to fluid flow from a nozzle. but, this cant explain the observations. I side with those who believe wave-particle and/or diamagnetic effects drive the high-speed (800 km/sec) wind and explosive events drive the slow speed (400 km/sec) wind.
  7. Jan 5, 2009 #6
    About 750 Volts / Metre or 1.4 KW / sq metre over all wavelengths.
  8. Jan 6, 2009 #7
    It's difficult to see how the solar wind, which is composed of charged particles, could be driven to such high speeds without an electric potential to drive them.

    Can you tell me where you got these figures?
  9. Jan 6, 2009 #8
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