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Last Post 10/18/2012 3:09 PM by  Yan Li
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10/14/2012 9:31 PM
    How is it that the sun generates so much magnetic activity?
    Tags: solar flare, CME, sunspot, magnetic field, sun, coronal mass ejection, Earth, active region, Magnetic Activity, Fluid, Mystery

    Terry Kucera

    Basic Member

    Basic Member

    10/15/2012 4:59 AM


    The processes that go into generating a magnetic field are a bit complex and we don't understand everything happening on the Sun, but basically you can generate a magnetic field if an object is rotating, contains a conducting fluid, and has a bit of a magnetic field to start with. The Sun fits these criteria - it is a giant rotating ball and its outer third or so is made up of flowing plasma (basically a a magnetized fluid), and we think there was a bit of a magnetic field in the initial gas from which the Sun was formed. There is a lot more about the Sun's magnetic field here:


    Other stars also show magnetic activity, and the ones that rotate faster or are thought to have deeper layers of freely moving plasma inside show more activity.

    The Earth also has a magnetic field because it rotates and has it has a layer of liquid iron flowing inside it. (see and


    KD Leka

    Basic Member

    Basic Member

    10/15/2012 10:36 AM

    HI; we also don't exactly know why some of the magnetic activity that our Sun displays can sometimes appear as a nice simple concentration of magnetic field which grows and then shrinks "quietly", with some nice coronal loops that look simple like iron-filings around a bar-magnet (see for example http://www.solarmonitor.o...171&region=11236 then click on the different images at the bottom to see different layers of the solar atmosphere) while others appear to be more complicated (such as http://www.solarmonitor.o...0&region=11465). We do know that the more complicated a "show" that a sunspot group displays, the more likely it is to produce solar flares and coronal mass ejections, which are impressive displays of magnetic activity. But why some sunspot groups' magnetic fields are less complex while others are more is a big mystery that some solar scientists (including myself) are trying to solve.

    Cheers, -KD

    Yan Li

    New Member

    New Member

    10/18/2012 3:09 PM
    Hi, Just to add, the fact that the Sun is not rotating as a rigid body, but rotate differently at the center and the poles, is important for generating the magnetic field in the Sun. Yan
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