Skywatch

  • March 25, 2010

    Episode 267: The Sun's Conveyor Belt

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    Shownotes

    The Sun has a circulation mechanism that brings hot plasma and magnetic fields to its surface. This circulation pattern is called the Sun's Great Circulation Belt. It was thought that sunspots are related to the Sun's circulation, and that the faster the belt ran, the more sunspots there would be. Observations with the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) seem to contradict this model. A new satellite, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, was launched in February 2010, and may be able to discover more through helioseismology, the study of oscillating waves within the Sun.