In The Photosphere Of The Sun
The photosphere of the sun is a turbulent and sometimes
violent place, with coronal mass ejections and tsunamis. Dr.
Alexander G. Kosovichev, from Stanford University, and
Dr. Valentina V. Zharkova from Glasgow
University have already demonstrated evidence of
seismic (tsunami) activity in the photosphere using data collected by the
Michelson Doppler Imager onboard the
SOHO spacecraft following a flare
on July 9, 1996.
This movie of the
photosphere's activity demonstrates the convection processes that are constantly
reshaping the granular, liquid-like "surface" of
the photosphere as it conducts built up heat from below into the
chromosphere that sits above it. The photosphere is a dense plasma layer that
behaves a lot like a gooey liquid. It sits above the surface
of the sun much like earths oceans cover most of the earth. As we can see from the granular surface video, the
plasma layer of the photosphere behaves very much like a pot of boiling hot liquid with a
crusty surface. It is busily
transferring the heat produced from the arcing processes below, into the chromosphere above
it. The photosphere is constantly being reheated from below by the ongoing
arcing processes that conduct electricity through the photosphere and thereby heat up the medium of the photosphere
itself. Sometimes this results in moving
sunspots, where the visible "congealed" surface of the photosphere simply "dissolved"
into the upwelling hot plasma from underneath. Once things
cool off again, the jelled plasma at the top of the photosphere reforms and the
The gooey nature, and the dense, liquid-like properties of the photospheres
plasma allow us
to watch the propagation of seismic waves through the medium of the photosphere.
As you look at this video, you can see what I
would describe as an "underwater island chain" that is highly electrically
active and in the process of significant erosion because of this electrical
activity. Sitting above all of these surface features (the light and
dark areas of the video) sits the orange, liquid-like photosphere.
To the left side of these more active (bright) underwater structures we can also
see an "under-photosphere" structure that I've circled in black. It is not
active and is not moving and does not change at any time during the
video. Notice the dark ridge along the left hand side of this structure
and the fact this dark ridge faces away from the active "lit" areas. This
dark side of the structure is essentially a "shadow" caused by the side of the
cliff. In fact as you review the video, you can make out a
lot of features which don't change very much as the
photosphere moves around them.
Imagine that you are looking into a
slightly murky but shallow
pond, on a windy day. You can make out some the "surface features" below, but
not all of them, and not very clearly. To the north and south of the center of this video sit two active
"tops" of solid surface ridges in a VERY active (hot) state of electrical erosion. Just
before the "tsunami" begins, the upper bright spot in the center of
the video grows brighter indicating an increase in electrical activity.
Shortly afterwards, this bright spot to the north simply "disappears", as does the glow
from part of
the southern tip, indicating a significant drop in electrical activity in both regions, and
a much reduced electrical arcing pattern can be seen between the north and south active zones.
Just prior to
the beginning of the eruption, a black dot, followed by a black burst, appears in the center of the bright
region to the south, marking the very center of the eruption
point which is circled in blue in the upper photo. This is followed
shortly afterwards by a bright "ring" (third photo) in the photosphere just
above the black patch from the eruption below. Electrical erosion is ultimately
the catalyst of this event as it eats through the top of the lower ridge
and causes and eruption of the magma below, setting off a tsunami in the photosphere.
The tsunami then uniformly spreads itself across the photosphere like
ripples on a pond.
I would like to personally thank
Dr. Kosovichev for
taking the time to respond to my recent emails. I have the greatest of
respect for Dr. Kosovichev
and his work and particularly the time he spent answering my questions. In a very direct way, this
page is my attempt to explain to him, more than anyone else, why I interpret his
work to support the idea that the sun has a solid surface. It is probably safe to
say that this will bother him no end at the moment. :)
I must note here that
Dr. Kosovichev is a
VERY, very nice person, but he in NO WAY endorses my views about there
being a "solid" surface on the sun. In a recent email
from Dr. Kosovichev, he explained these features in the following quote:
"The consistent structures in the movie are
caused by stationary flows in magnetic structures, sunspots and active regions.
We know this from the simultaneous
measurements of solar magnetic field, made by SOHO. These are not solid
structures which would not have mass flows that we see.
These images are Doppler shift of the
spectral line Ni 6768A.
The Doppler shift measures the velocity of
mass motions along the line of sight. The darker areas show the motions towards
us, and light areas show flows from us. These are not cliffs or anything like
this. The movie frames are the running differences of the Doppler shift. For the
illustration purpose, the sunquake signal is enhanced by increasing its
amplitude by a factor 4."
If you wish a further explanation of this video from his point of view, I
suggest you visit him by clicking on any of the links I've provided.
I'm sure from my own experiences that he will be very happy to email you if you
have any questions about his views.
I would point out in my defense that electrons and ions and streams of plasma and other charged
surface particles moving from
one point on the surface to another would certainly explain the mass flows that
he describes and would certainly create the Doppler shift images that we see in these videos.
This mass flow argument favors neither a gas model nor a solid model in any way.
there is evidence in
Dr. Kosovichev's own body of work to suggest that sound waves run into a a
discrete "layer" at 4800km (3000 Miles), and the structures below the photosphere that we see
in these images most likely come from a stratification layer found at a relatively shallow depth.
Sound waves show a definite density/temperature change at a relatively shallow
depth under the
photosphere. The heliosiesmology figures sound just about right for the depth of the structures we see under the wave
in this video.
Our disagreement about the cause of the mass flow is a mute
point IMO, since whatever mass flows that allows us to see the ripples and
movement of the wave through the photosphere are exactly the same mass flows
that reveal the angular "structures" at a very specific depth below the surface
of the photosphere as well.
What is revealed in these videos is that very angular and relatively solid
"structures" can be seen below and within the rippling, gooey plasma layer of
the photosphere. Compared to the
liquid-like texture of the plasma in the
photosphere, these surfaces are HIGHLY RIGID, and unaffected by the disturbance
in the photosphere.
These surfaces simply do not move and flow like the rest of
the photosphere moves and flows in this video. These surfaces therefore
cannot be composed of the same liquid-like material as the photosphere itself. They
are FAR too rigid and far too angular, and far too stable to be a part of the
photosphere itself. In addition, these photos reveal this transition
layer between the liquid-like plasma of the photosphere and the solid structures
below the photosphere happens at a relatively, in fact EXTREMELY SHALLOW DEPTH, compared to what
gas models predict. The transition between rigid surface and liquid
plasma, happens in a VERY RADICAL fashion, not gradually as we would expect if
the photosphere simply gets more dense as we go deeper into the sun.
The notion that these are "stationary magnetic structures" precludes them from
being made of the same material as the liquid-plasma layer that the wave is
propagating through. The material of the photosphere itself is not
"stationary" at all.
These Doppler images are created by looking for moving mass that is
flowing up or down from the perspective of one's line of site, or essentially
from the satellites "point of view". Mass in the form of electrons and
ions and plasma is flowing upwards from the lower regions of the surface and are
designated as "dark regions" in these photos. Mass flowing down is shown
in the light areas. These up and down movements of mass stop a very
discernable, uniformly rotating layer, the solar "surface" itself. The
dark areas represent springs and rivers of electrons that are continually
flowing UP from core through the surface. Ions and plasma and charged
particles from the surface get pulled upwards in this stream. The dark
areas "tend" (this can be misleading however) to be the "lower" regions of the
surface, because electrons from the core will take the path of least resistance
through the surface structures. If you think of the surface and solar
crust as a resistor, electrons flowing up from the core will take the shortest
path to the surface, the path of least resistance.
These free flowing electrons from the core will be attracted toward any
positively charged surface, and will arc toward these positively charged areas.
Typically these areas are found in the the higher elevations. Electrons
flow into the core from space as well, as they pour down to the surface from
every angle. They too will be attracted to the the "higher" elevations,
more specifically the positively charged surface structures which act as
"lightening rods" for the out-flowing streams of electrons and for the electrons
from space. This energy exchange is what "lights up" the arcs we see, and heats
up the photosphere around the arcs.
This up and down movement of electrons completes the circuit through the
photosphere and these electrons contain and pushes along the moving mass that
Dr. Kosovichev is
This powerful flow of energy creates the mass flow pattern
that highlights the wave propagating through the photosphere and also reveals the solid,
rigid and angular surfaces below the photosphere that you can see in these photos. The
features are stationary, unlike the movement of wave through the photosphere.
They are solid objects on the surface of the sun.
Whatever these stationary structures are made of, they cannot possibly be made of
same material as the photosphere. It's simply not dense enough to create
such rigid surfaces.