Is it fusion in the solar corona?

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Enos
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Re: Is it fusion in the solar corona?

Post by Enos » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:57 pm

Chris, thanks for the clarification on the proton content of the solar corona. Do we know that the corona is generally neutral or is it something we assume? Anyway I guess the number is close to the truth.

We know that deuterium is synthesized in coronal flares so there is some deuterium in the corona, but we don't know how much. I can't find any measurements of deuterium in the solar wind either. This abstract sums this up http://arxiv.org/abs/0909.1279

So during solar maximum we have more flares and more deuterium in the corona, and we have more thermal radiation from the sun causing higher temperatures at Earth, one of many possible explanations could be increased fusion in the corona.

In vacuum, energy can only be transferred by radiation or by accelerating high energy particles out of there. Some of the energy may go down to heat the photosphere, where it can be radiated away.
Some may be transferred away by the solar wind. Some charged energy particles may drive/push magnetic fields and thereby creating electric fields and currents. We may also get relativistic velocity particle swarms similar to the Earths Van Allen belts.

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Steven Sesselmann
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Re: Is it fusion in the solar corona?

Post by Steven Sesselmann » Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:51 am

Enos,

[Do we know that the corona is generally neutral or is it something we assume? ]

Your question caught my eye..

What is the definition of neutral?

Here on earth the voltage potential rises up by about 100V per meter above ground level, which means there is a potential difference of 100 KV at around 1 km height. Why would this not be the case on the Sun?

Considering the rarefied atmosphere of the Sun's corona region, and the enormous Voltage potentials I see no reason why particles would not be accelerated to fusion velocities.

As yourself the question, what happens to a sphere insulated in space when protons attempt to escape, and can they escape?

Steven
http://www.gammaspectacular.com - Gamma Spectrometry Systems
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Steven_Sesselmann - Various papers and patents on RG

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Dennis P Brown
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Re: Is it fusion in the solar corona?

Post by Dennis P Brown » Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:51 am

The overall charge of the solar corona is and must be neutral since it is a plasma that has been ejected from a solar surface that is neutral. The Earth's atmosphere is an insulator so it can support a charge density with altitude (until very high up near/in space where it does become a plasma and supports charge flow. In which case it would be neutral.)

Any charge imbalance in the solar corona would be quickly neutralized by local particles. I would think that very small, localized regions could exhibit non-neutral states for very short periods between ions. But I would think that this would offer little help with your fusion concept.

The solar wind is neutral from what I understand - besides, think if it wasn't. The charge buildup on the sun would be huge in a short time and powerful charge flows towards the sun would occur and I am not aware of anyone seeing such effects.

Chris has thoroughly and completely answered the question of fusion ever occurring in any significant amount in the corona (it doesn't) - mass ejections would have only a small increased density (relative) compared to the corona so again, fusion rates would be very tiny and not significant.

Earth’s upper atmospheric heating has been shown to be solely due to increased UV intensity due to sun spots during high solar activity and has nothing to do with corona heating from what I am aware on this subject.

Unless you can offer technical information and physics that somehow gets around Chris’ proven physics, your idea just is not possible – sorry.

Also, it is not clear to me from reading the abstract that they are implying that hydrogen fusion is the cause of the deuterium that is seen in the corona. The sun contains deuterium and some would always be ejected during a solar event (mass ejection.) Be careful jumping to any conclusions before reading the paper – always a good idea.

Enos
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Did you miss my main point?

Post by Enos » Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:59 pm

Hello again thanks for all the answers!

I might have been totally clear, because it seems like you missed the main point. I suggested that fusion occur because particles are accelerated from the corona towards the Sun. That's why I proposed the plasma jets going towards the Sun and that fusor mechanism. And if ions are accelerated towards the sun, sooner or later they will crash, like cosmic rays hitting Earth causing nuclear reactions, but they will not take linear paths due to gyration in the magnetic fields and the distances involved.

I suspect most particle collisions occur in the transition region between the corona and the chromosphere. The transmission region has a strong temperature increase proportional to a strong pressure decrease. See attached picture.

Most particles are probably not leaving the corona upwards, but go downwards(towards the sun) to the chromosphere:

“The Sun's corona, or extended outer layer, is a region of plasma that is heated to over a million degrees Celsius. As a result of thermal collisions, the particles within the inner corona have a range and distribution of speeds described by a Maxwellian distribution. The mean velocity of these particles is about 145 km/s, which is well below the solar escape velocity of 618 km/s. However, a few of the particles achieve energies sufficient to reach the terminal velocity of 400 km/s, which allows them to feed the solar wind.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_wind#Emission

So it seems like we have a gyrating particle swarm in the inner corona close to the transistion region. The ions could then orbit the Sun numerous times while partly gyrate into the chromosphere. It is also hard to measure the proton content close to the sun, as protons have no emission lines, and to use photometry and background starlight(as explained by Chris) may be difficult due to the blinding sunlight.

Many solutions to the coronal heating problem are proposed, but there is not any consensus in the scientific community, because the proposed solutions can’t explain all the observations. The two most accepted proposed solutions are wave heating and heating by magnetic reconnection and nanoflares.

"According to Parker a nanoflare arises from an event of magnetic reconnection which converts the energy stored in the solar magnetic field into the motion of the plasma. The plasma motion (thought as fluid motion) occurs at length-scales so small that it is soon dumped by the turbulence and then by the viscosity. In such a way the energy is quickly converted into heat, and conducted by the free electrons along the magnetic field lines closer to the place where the nanoflare switches on. In order to heat a region of very high X-ray emission, over an area 1" x 1", a nanoflare of 10^17 J should happen every 20 seconds...

The theory initially developed by Parker of micro-nanoflares is one of those explaining the heating of the corona as the dissipation of electric currents generated by a spontaneous relaxation of the magnetic field towards a configuration of lower energy. The magnetic energy is transformed into electric one and then into heat for Joule effect." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanoflares

So here we have strong electric current bursts, perfect for plasma pinch fusion. Magnetic reconnection itself could also be described as a pinch which compress and accelerate particles, and the compression and acceleration is confirmed in Earths plasma jet accelerating particles creating auroras on Earth.

Other proposed solutions to the coronal heating problem are the observed and the estimated amount of 11000 magnetic tornadoes in the chromosphere, another one is spicules which is hot dense gas bursts going through the chromosphere and out in the corona.

I also proposed two possible solutions, plasma jets going towards the sun generated by coronal streamers/magnetic reconnection, and a fusor mechanism created by ionization and an electric field.

But as you have picked up upon, the majority of scientists don’t believe in charge separations in plasma, so then we can’t either have electric fields. This was based upon the assumption that plasma is a perfect conductor, electrons can then flow freely without energy loss and neutralize the charge separation. But as we now know plasma has a small resistance and is no perfect conductor, so the assumption is proven wrong. We also know from observations of our magnetosphere that charge separation is possible and electric fields are measured, in double layers and plasma connected to the aurora. Magnetic fields and specially changing magnetic fields are great charge separators, and the electron is extremely magnetic. We also have accepted MHD mechanisms or MHD generators which create currents from high velocity plasma in a magnetic field. As high velocity plasma pass through the Suns magnetic field we will get a MHD generator effect creating currents. The solar atmosphere also have a lot of changing magnetic fields, in standard physics this create induction of currents.

So if we add currents and charge separation, we could increase the chance of collisions. Because equal directed currents attracts, this may concentrate ions and create a plasma pinch, which we experimentally have used to create fusion reactions.

I may not have all the answers on exactly how fusion in the corona is possible, but it seems like its numerous ways it may be possible. And if the corona and the transition region are burning with fusion, I expected we could observe it, but so far I have found no final concluding observations which dismisses or confirms the hypothesis. But there are several interesting observations I will discuss with you.

Within 3-5 years we will probably know the final solution to this hypothesis as there are several inner heliospheric missions planned. I hope they remember to bring a neutron monitor.
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