ISRO Missions and Discoveries

Sun’s Magnetic Field and its Influence on Interplanetary Space


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Solar Mean Magnetic Field (SMMF)

Mains level: Not Much

sun magnet

Central Idea

  • Scientists from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) have conducted a study to better understand the relationship between the sun’s magnetic field and the interplanetary magnetic space.
  • It is said to play a crucial role in space weather.
  • The findings provide valuable insights into the Solar Mean Magnetic Field (SMMF) and its connection with the Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF).

Sun’s Magnetic Field and Its Generation

  • The sun’s magnetic field is generated by electrical currents acting as a magnetic dynamo within the sun.
  • The corona, photosphere, and chromosphere of the sun contain the magnetic field, with the chromosphere being a near-transparent layer just above the photosphere.

What is Solar Mean Magnetic Field (SMMF)?

  • The SMMF represents the mean value of the line-of-sight component of the solar vector magnetic field averaged over the visible hemisphere of the sun.
  • Understanding the SMMF’s effect on the IMF is crucial for better space weather forecasting and response.

Investigating the SMMF at Chromospheric Heights

  • IIA scientists aimed to explore the relationship between the SMMF at chromospheric and photospheric heights.
  • Their analysis revealed a strong similarity between the two, with the chromospheric SMMF being lower than the photospheric SMMF.
  • This suggests that the primordial magnetic field inside the sun could be a source of the SMMF.

Data and Methodology

  • The scientists utilized magnetic field measurements from the Synoptic Optical Long-term Investigations of the Sun (SOLIS)/Vector Spectromagnetograph (VSM) instrument from 2010 to 2017.
  • They cross-verified the data with measurements from the Wilcox Solar Observatory.

Significance and Future Implications

  • Understanding the source and driving parameters of the SMMF contributes to a better understanding of how it influences the IMF.
  • This knowledge can aid in improved space weather prediction and response.


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