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Heat map of the Sun looks like something Monet would be proud of

Illustration for article titled Heat map of the Sun looks like something Monet would be proud of

NASA's Nicholeen Viall has developed a new visualization technique for studying the Sun's temperature fluctuations — and the eye-catching results are startlingly beautiful. Each color-coded area in Viall's composition represents the star's temperature shifts over the course of a 12-hour span. The new method could help scientists better understand the mechanisms required to drive the Sun's temperature and the movements of the corona.

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Illustration for article titled Heat map of the Sun looks like something Monet would be proud of

Viall was able to do this by analyzing the data collected by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. Her heat map uses red, orange, or yellow to indicate an area that has cooled, and a blue or green color if the area has heated up. The exact shade is determined by how much time it took for the temperature change to occur.

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In essence, the map is a visualization of the lag time required to heat up or cool down a specific area of the Sun.

Looking at the map, the wealth of reds, oranges, and yellow indicate that, over the 12-hour span, the isolated area went through a cooling phase. But given that there isn't an exclusively one-way temperature slide, Viall has concluded that heating must be quick and impulsive — a process that happens so fast that it doesn't show up in her videos. This may provide further evidence to the theory that the Sun exhibits "nanobursts" of energy to heat up the corona.

Via Daily Mail.

All images via NASA.

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DISCUSSION

Does anyone else think that the term "heat map" when referring to the sun is a little bit redundant?