The sun’s giant heat elevators

Mega-plumes of plasma move heat from inside of the sun around and through its outer layers

By Stephen Ornes, 13:23 PM December 31, 2013

Going up! In the sun, heat rises from its scorching interior to the surface, carried by plumes of solar material. Neither solid, liquid nor gas, these plumes are made from plasma — a fourth state of matter. Scientists had known these plumes could be huge. Now astronomers have found mega-plumes. They are bigger than any measured before and much longer-lived.

Their existence also may explain why the sun rotates more quickly around its “waistline” than at its poles.

Close-up pictures of the sunsho...

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