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Studying Magnetic fields

Just about every feature on the Sun that is associated with solar variability is created by, or influenced by, magnetic fields. Thus they are a natural candidate for modulating the structure and energy output of the Sun on a more global scale, that is, the scale of the entire Sun itself.

Since energy is transported by convection (physical motion of the gases) in the outer regions of the Sun, the way in which magnetic fields modify the convective flows is one field of active research. Because the details of the convective flows vary considerably (due to the physical effects of stratification, partial ionization, radiation, and the like), changes in the uppermost layers are seen at the surface first, then those in the deeper layers, and finally those which occur at the position in the Sun which marks the interface between where energy is transported by convection (above) and by radiation (below). This transition zone is about seven-tenths of the way from the Sun's center to its surface.

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Approved by Peter Fox
Last revised: Wed May 17 11:28:21 MDT 2000