Cozy Dark: Science is awesome, and space is pretty! ...wanna be friends?

Brought to you the folks at I Dream of Space.

Search

Alpha Centauri A: Our Sun’s Twin |

The European Space Agency’s Herschel space observatory has detected a cool layer in the atmosphere of Alpha Centauri A, the first time this has been seen in a star beyond our own Sun. The finding is not only important for understanding the Sun’s activity, but could also help in the quest to discover proto-planetary systems around other stars.

The Sun’s nearest neighbours are the three stars of the Alpha Centauri system. The faint red dwarf, Proxima Centauri, is nearest at just 4.24 light-years, with the tight double star, Alpha Centauri AB, slightly further away at 4.37 light-years.

Alpha Centauri B has recently been in the news after the discovery of an Earth-mass planet in orbit around it. But Alpha Centauri A is also very important to astronomers: almost a twin to the Sun in mass, temperature, chemical composition and age, it provides an ideal natural laboratory to compare other characteristics of the two stars.

One of the great curiosities in solar science is that the Sun’s wispy outer atmosphere — the corona — is heated to millions of degrees while the visible surface of the Sun is ‘only’ about 6000ºC. Even stranger, there is a temperature minimum of about 4000ºC between the two layers, just a few hundred kilometres above the visible surface in the part of Sun’s atmosphere called the chromosphere.

Both layers can be seen during a total solar eclipse, when the Moon briefly blocks the bright face of the Sun: the chromosphere is a pink-red ring around the Sun, while the ghostly white plasma streamers of the corona extend out millions of kilometres. continue reading

Notes

  1. incastellanizable reblogged this from cozydark
  2. forgottendragonbite reblogged this from janathanmosely
  3. nausikaa reblogged this from cozydark
  4. kazerman reblogged this from cozydark
  5. tawd123 reblogged this from cozydark
  6. blackskylab reblogged this from cozydark
  7. xrastacostax reblogged this from cozydark
  8. watsonaut reblogged this from cozydark
  9. kittkiel reblogged this from cozydark
  10. drdragonborn reblogged this from cozydark
  11. cropcircle-pluto reblogged this from cozydark
  12. heyhiggsitsboson reblogged this from cozydark and added:
    #alphacentauri #sun #sunstwin #solarsystem
  13. acidissue reblogged this from cozydark
  14. physicsandfandoms reblogged this from cozydark
  15. chenhongqinggood reblogged this from cozydark
  16. rotting-vomit reblogged this from cozydark
  17. m-i-c-c reblogged this from cozydark
  18. dracos-real reblogged this from cozydark
  19. wanderingsofalice reblogged this from cozydark
  20. theycallmesweetg reblogged this from cozydark
  21. enri4 reblogged this from cozydark
  22. deniskis reblogged this from cozydark
  23. achilles101 reblogged this from cozydark
Blog comments powered by Disqus

Loading posts...