The Sun Erupts

My post Some Interesting Science Papers drew some sceptical responses. Fine. Theories should be picked apart until we can be sure they will hold water. But we should also be on the look out for new data.

And here is a piece of new (for me) data that will knock your socks off. Vast Solar Eruption Shocks NASA and Raises Doubts on Sun Theory. That would be the old sun theory: the sun is a big ball of mostly Hydrogen gas that gets its energy from the fusion of that gas.

We are forever being told that the sun is a vast gas ball of hydrogen and helium at the center of our solar system. But new evidence may help prove this isn't the case after all, according to solar experts who say the sun has an iron core.

A stunned NASA admits, "Astronomers knew they had witnessed something big. It was so big, it may have shattered old ideas about solar activity."

The vast global solar eruption covers ~10^9 km of the solar photosphere. The US space agency reports, "The whole solar hemisphere erupted simultaneously in an avalanche effect that had been triggered in the tiny solar core and propagated outwards" (NASA: Dec 13, 2010).

That is interesting. To get a whole hemisphere to erupt something has to happen in the core and propagate outward. It can't happen on the surface that way. If it was a surface effect the disturbance would have a different center.
Scientists have confirmed that the explosion that occurred on August 1, 2010 is unprecedented in recorded history and caused filaments of magnetism to snap and explode creating enormous shock waves that raced across the stellar surface. This caused billion-ton clouds of hot gas to billow out into space.

This unprecedented event is claimed to give support to an alternative theory long held by Professor Oliver K. Manuel, a Postdoctoral Fellow of the University of California, Berkeley.

Oliver and I have joined in a number of discussions about Global Warming on the 'Net. He is a sceptic of the CO2 theory (not the effect - the magnitude).
Controversy about our understanding of the sun has been fomenting for years. In 1980, solar science researcher, Ralph E. Juergens lamented, "The modern astrophysical concept that ascribes the sun's energy to thermonuclear reactions deep in the solar interior is contradicted by nearly every observable aspect of the sun."

The astrophysics establishment has long shunned the idea of the sun having any such iron core. But this momentous event is consistent with the theory that there is a tiny dense neutron core the size of a city powered by neutron repulsion. Professor Manuel believes there is a super-conducting iron-rich shell the size of a moon or small planet surrounding the neutron core.

Backing the theory is astrophysicist Carl A. Rouse, who calculated a tiny iron-rich solar core from helioseismology data, but he has also been ignored up until now.

Up 'tll now. The times they are a changin. FYI Oliver is the University of Missouri-Rolla and ex-NASA man.
The delighted University of Missouri-Rolla and ex-NASA man says that the event, contrary to modern theory, is new evidence for the Sun's tiny (~10 km), dense neutron core being powered by neutron repulsion, and/or the super-conducting iron-rich shell (~10^3 km) surrounding the neutron core.

"The August 1st event really opened our eyes," says Karel Schrijver of Lockheed Martin's Solar and Astrophysics Lab in Palo Alto, CA. "We see that solar storms can be global events, playing out on scales we scarcely imagined before."

The four key points made by the iron core theorists are:

1. We do not "see" the Sun;
2. We see waste products emitting light when they reach the top of the Sun's atmosphere (photosphere);
3. The "smoke" we see is (H and He) from a neutron star;
4. The global eruption was triggered by the tiny, energetic, dense neutron-rich core of the Sun or by the iron-rich mantle that surrounds it.

Time for 'Truthing' Says Solar Professor

This monumental solar eruption may finally challenge the accepted theories about how the key driver of Earth's climate actually works. Manuel sagely observes, "Although NASA seems to be catching up, after decades of 'group-think' it will be very difficult for NASA scientists to comprehend the Sun."

Indeed, this latest evidence is unsettling not just for accepted ideas about how our Sun works but it also impacts assumptions of how the Sun effects Earth's climate. Oliver insists " Science is a continuous process of 'truthing' without ever claiming that you have the 'whole truth.'"

So there may be something to the idea that the sun has a neutron/iron core. We shall see.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon on 01.23.11 at 02:41 PM


Well, that there should be a lot of other material making up the sun kinda makes sense in just a common sense sorta way doesn't it? Heavy stuff is more likely to fall, and since everything in the solar system is falling towards the sun, shouldn't a large portion of the heavier materials have fallen into the sun at the time of formation?

What I'm reading is neat though. Since "neat" is about as thorough a my understanding of the science allows me to conclude. Is there a degree in that?

Douglas   ·  January 23, 2011 3:28 PM

Eh, the iron sun idea is interesting but they whiffed on the neutrino thing, so this looks increasingly like a theory in source of evidence which is always dangerous (ahem climate change ahem) because every time some unexpected data crops up you're hammering away hoping to mash that sqaure peg into the round hole at last. But we'll see.

TallDave   ·  January 23, 2011 11:48 PM

So, if I'm reading this correctly, then the sun may not be powered by fusion energy. If that is the case, then have we been chasing the holy grail of fusion for all these decades, only to find out it's a tin cup? The sun is, as far as I can tell, the only evidence we have of a large scale, net-energy-positive, self-sustaining fusion reaction. Said evidence has apparently gone up in smoke.

Am I wrong?

NukemHill   ·  January 24, 2011 12:30 PM

Nuke. It is always wise to read a paper before commenting on it.

The sun is powered in part by neutrons and in part by fusion.

M. Simon   ·  January 24, 2011 12:39 PM

Liquid Scintillator Neutrino Detector (LSND) experiment.

Neutrino oscillations have been employed to explain the apparent deficit of solar electron-neutrinos and atmospheric muon-neutrinos. The solar and atmospheric experiments have been confirmed by other experiments, while the LSND remains uncomfirmed. An independent experiment is needed to prove whether the events observed by LSND are indeed due to neutrino oscillations. The MiniBooNE experiment, currently under construction at Fermilab, is designed to provide a definitive test of the LSND neutrino oscillation results, and if the results are verified, to make a precision measurements of the oscillation parameters.

Scientists find it difficult to explain the solar, atmospheric, and LSND results using only the three known neutrino types: the electron, muon, and tau neutrinos. This difficulty causes the LSND results to be controversial. It has been hypothesized that some unknown new phenomenon--such as a fourth 'sterile' neutrino with a much weaker interaction with matter than normal neutrinos or large extra dimensions with different neutrino masses--might explain the data. Such new phenomena would have an enormous impact on the standard model of particle physics and would have very broad implications for future research in the fields of nuclear physics, high-energy physics, and astrophysics.

M. Simon   ·  January 24, 2011 12:54 PM


Hadn't read the paper. Was making a brief comment on your summary. And I wasn't taking a position, just trying to understand (incorrectly, as it turns out) what was being said. The "if I'm reading this correctly", "apparently", and "Am I wrong?" would, I hope, be enough evidence that I wasn't staking out a rock solid position.

Thanks for the condescension, though. Always good to start the week off with a bang.


NukemHill   ·  January 24, 2011 1:32 PM


I do unannounced sarcasm too. Probably a personality defect. Not much of a handicap as in real life I'm an engineer. And you know what we say: RTFM

M. Simon   ·  January 24, 2011 1:52 PM

Yeah, M. Simon, but in my experience with engineers, they don't always do as they say... :P

Kathy Kinsley   ·  January 24, 2011 7:40 PM


It is the bane of the trade.

M. Simon   ·  January 24, 2011 8:27 PM

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