Solar gravitation puzzle

Posted: May 13, 2020 by tallbloke in Astronomy, Astrophysics, Celestial Mechanics, cosmic rays, Electro-magnetism, Emissions, Gravity, hydrogen, Maths, Measurement, physics, Solar physics

Browsing twitter recently I ran across this short video of a solar flare shot a few days ago.

After asking for some clarification on frame rate I was really intrigued.

I made a rough calculation of the height the “Earth sized gob of plasma” descended between 2 frames of the video. It’s over 18,000km if I got my trigonometry right.

Fig1: Using length of chord and similar triangles to estimate the altitudes of the plasma ball in consecutive video frames.

I consulted an online tool which calculates gravity from freefall parameters. The answer it provided implies the surface gravity on the Sun, assuming the plasma blob was in freefall under gravity rather than being pulled to surface by a mighty EM force, is in excess of the traditional estimate of 274m/s-2 by 4000m/s-2. I’m sure my calcs must be in error, because a 1.4 million km diameter hunk of Uranium wouldn’t generate that much gravity!

So I’ve made a huge computational error, or the framerate isn’t what Andrew said it was, or something happened to the framerate in video post-processing during upload, or EM forces move “Earth sized gobs of plasma” at amazing accelerations, or the Sun’s core is a superdense white dwarf and Oliver Manuel was right all along that the Sun’s matter has been re-accreted after a previous supernova event and that’s why the distribution of heavy elements in the solar system is what it is.

Fig2: Possible origin of the solar system as we know it

Oldbrew tells me he ran across a 2008 NASA article saying they were aware that something about the Sun’s gravity was anomalous and they were looking into it. Since then, radio silence.

Speculations on a postcard to the usual address.

  1. tallbloke says:

  2. hunterson7 says:

    Thank you for your endless sense of wonder and willingness to observe, test and check the results. It makes you a great skeptic and I look forward to your posts with anticipation and appreciation.

  3. BoyfromTottenham says:

    Silly question: Is plasma subject to gravity?

  4. P.A.Semi says:

    I’ve produced recently a video of a Sunspot active region from 2012
    [video src="" /]

    There are at least 3 filaments visible freely flowing before “slowly” erupting a floating away, a plasma moving vertically, sometimes plasma moving out from a sunspot and returning on a same trajectory backward, and few explosions and their effect on magnetic plasma lines nearby…
    (If you’d like to calculate speeds and distances, this video 1280×1024 is scaled 50% from SDO 4k frames so it has 1.2 arcsec/pixel resolution so it should be 870.3 km / pixel at Sun’s distance…? Fulldisk Sun has radius about 1620 pixels and it’s scaled 50% so at resolution of the video Sun’s radius is cca 810 pixels)

    The effect of plasma not falling down but returning back horizontally on the field lines is even better visible here:
    (I’m not sure at this moment about the scale of this video…)
    (These videos use variable frame-rate to show various events in better detail while skipping over normal times faster (ranging between 2 minutes and 1 hour per video frame), the time-code is visible at left bottom and you can slow-down the playback in some decent video player…)
    (If you wanted to use image frames from the video you can ask me about the original jpegs since the video degrades quality somehow…)

    Solar magnetism is quite powerful and the forces are much stronger than the surface gravity… Often it ejects the plasma outwards, so here it probably attracted the plasma glob inwards faster than gravity would…

    For ex. in the first video, there is explosion at 2012-03-07 01:00 whose front wave travels about 250 km/s and at 2012-03-09 03:40 the front wave (in blue color) travels about 230 km/s horizontally and the filament CME at 2012-03-16 20:00 travels outward at about 180 km/s …

    Solar gravity and mass is quite perfectly measured by orbital periods of planets and Kepler’s laws. And the magnetic force fades with third power of distance (from solar surface magnetic anomalies) and is much less pronounced here at Earth’s distance than the gravity force which fades with a second power of distance from Sun’s center…
    (Sun’s mass is as certain as is Earth’s distance from the Sun – including space warping near Sun’s center – which is not certain exactly but there is not more than about a percent uncertainty…)

  5. P.A.Semi says:

    BoyfromTottenham says: May 14, 2020 at 5:05 am
    Silly question: Is plasma subject to gravity?

    The plasma are bare protons or bare electrons or some other more massive elements stripped of some electrons and it has a mass so it is subject to gravity… But as it is electrically charged it is also subject to magnetic forces which may be in this case much stronger…

  6. BoyfromTottenham says:

    P.A Semi – thanks for the info. So, if plasma is electrically charged, is it also therefore also subject to electric fields, and if electric fields are also present on the surface of the sun, are they strong enough to affect the plasma? This stuff is way outside my high school physics!

  7. tallbloke says:

    BfT: “This stuff is way outside my high school physics!”

    Mine too! Thanks Semi for your observations and metrics. I highly recommend everybody to download the .avi movie Semi has linked. It’s worth every one of the 227megabytes. The MP4 movie is great too, so cut and paste the link into your browser.

    Semi: “Solar gravity and mass is quite perfectly measured by orbital periods of planets and Kepler’s laws.”

    Isn’t the Sun’s mass derived from our calculation of the mass of Earth and Moon? Isn’t the Earth short of Uranium mass to explain it’s slow rate of cooling in the geological timeframe?
    “The temperature can easily exceed 400 K inside 5 AU and 1,000 K inside 1 AU. That’s 1,000K, notice, not 70,000K, which is what we need to match the theory above. And that’s only in the earliest stages of accretion. We actually require a cooling to facilitate accretion in the disk, so as the Earth accretes it cools far below 1,000K. There seems to be some lack of communication between nebular physicists and core physicists. They haven’t matched up their temperatures very well. We have a miss of around 200 times here.”

    Kepler didn’t say much about gravity. it was Newton who reformulated Kepler’s laws to incorporate his theory of universal gravitation.

  8. tallbloke says:

    Hunterson7: My aim is to provoke discussion and get people to bring forward interesting data and ideas. I always hit the jackpot with Semi, who does beautiful high resolution work to show us the inner workings of the solar system. Be sure to check out his stuff.

  9. oldbrew says:

    TB – Still looking for the missing link 😎

    Sun’s core rotates four times faster than its surface
    Surprising observation might reveal what the sun was like when it formed
    August 1, 2017
    University of California – Los Angeles

    The sun’s core rotates nearly four times faster than the sun’s surface, an international team of astronomers reports. The most likely explanation is that this core rotation is left over from the period when the sun formed, some 4.6 billion years ago.

  10. oldbrew says:

    This might be of interest.

    April 29, 2020
    New Insight Into Parker Solar Probe’s Early Observations

  11. tallbloke says:

    Good find OB: from the article

    “After the sun formed, the solar wind likely slowed the rotation of the outer part of the sun, he said. “

    Wouldn’t the solar wind have to be coupling with something outside the Sun to do that? The magnetospheres of the planets which all orbit much more slowly than the Sun spins perhaps? (There was another recent paper I can’t find which says the magnetic fields reaching out into interplanetary space are much stronger than previously thought). I remember being dissed by Leif Svalgaard back in 2008 for suggesting the solar wind coupling with the protoplanetary disk would still be happening, though at a much reduced intensity.

    “The researchers studied surface acoustic waves in the sun’s atmosphere, some of which penetrate to the sun’s core, where they interact with gravity waves that have a sloshing motion similar to how water would move in a half-filled tanker truck driving on a curvy mountain road. From those observations, they detected the sloshing motions of the solar core”

    Hmmm, more ‘gravity waves’. I ask again: Wouldn’t the Sun’s core have to be coupled to something outside the Sun to do that? The gyroscopic effects of the rest of the solar system’s masses for example?

  12. oldbrew says:

    A lot more here, 50+ papers…

    Over the past year and a half, PSP returned an enormous amount of science data that drew a new picture of the source region of the solar wind. The first discoveries of the mission were reported in the Nature magazine on 2019 December 4. This special issue of the Astrophysical Journal Supplement series consists of over 50 science papers that provide more detailed analyses of the data from the first two orbits. The number of discoveries is more than anyone has anticipated.
    – – –
    May 12, 2020
    Data from Parker Solar Probe’s Third Orbit Now Available to the Public

    NASA’s Parker Solar Probe team released a second collection of science data to the public on April 14, 2020. The release includes science data from all four of Parker Solar Probe’s instrument suites, spanning the mission’s third orbit around the Sun, which began on June 18, 2019 and completed on November 15, 2019. Also included are high-resolution measurements from the FIELDS and SWEAP instruments.

  13. oldbrew says:

    Watch Out for Falling Plasma
    – – –
    According to this, plasma rain falls slowly cushioned by gas…

    ‘Coronal rain has long been a mystery. It’s not surprising that plasma should fall back to the sun. After all, the sun’s gravity is powerful. The puzzle of coronal rain is how slowly it seems to fall. “The sun’s gravity should be pulling the material down much faster than it actually moves. What’s slowing the descent?” he wonders.

    For the first time, SDO provides an answer.

    “The rain appears to be buoyed by a ‘cushion’ of hot gas,” says Schrijver. “Previous observatories couldn’t see it, but it is there.” ‘

  14. tallbloke says:

    Excellent, on-topic find OB, thanks. The second video that simulates the crashing of the plasma blobs into the field lines and their being channeled away to one side while brightening them is instructive, in a negative way.

    None of that happens in the case of the “Earth sized gob of plasma” falling straight back to the solar surface at the start of Andrew’s video. That’s why I chose it as a candidate for the freefall experiment.

  15. tallbloke says:

    I’d forgotten how much fun Miles Mathis paper on the Cavendish experiment is to read.

    “now that we have apples weighing only ounces standing as proof of gravitational theory, the weight and density of the earth, and the accepted value of an important constant. That is to say, we now accept apples as having easily measurable and verifiable gravitational attractions, but we ignore the gravitational attractions of walls weighing thousands of pounds. I can only imagine that we do this because walls are not made of metal, or walls are not spherical, or something. I can’t really fathom it.

    At first glance, it must be clear that the walls of Cavendish’s box and shed cannot be ignored. Even if we look at them only from a gravitational perspective,”

    “Cavendish didn’t even bother to include the weight of his walls. He had a 348 lb ball 9” away, and a multi-thousand pound wall 24” away. Sure, only one point on the wall is 24” away; other parts are varying distances, but the wall is not negligible however you look at it. Cavendish assumes an inverse square law but then doesn’t apply it to the greatest masses in the vicinity”

    “In an experiment about mass, you should not be able to ignore most mass in the vicinity and still get the same answer. If your set-up doesn’t matter, your set-up is probably wrong.”

    “You should find it very mystifying that all these scientists not only ignore huge masses only two feet away, masses that may or not be balanced, they also ignore the need to say why they can ignore these masses. In other words, they ignore these facts, then ignore their own ignorance of these facts, and none of it seems to matter. We are such blessed creatures, apparently, that we can stumble on the correct answer every time, without even being fully conscious.”

  16. oldbrew says:

    Latest from Mathis: The Nature of Light

    Click to access lighterrors.pdf

    Summaries of his main gripes with mainstream science about photons, charge, light etc.

  17. pochas94 says:

    This apparent super gravity may be related to the corona heating problem. The magnetic energy in the expanding flux tube which supplements gravity near the photosphere simply appears as heat in the corona as the flux tube unwinds. So the “excess gravity” converts to heat.

  18. P.A.Semi says:

    About Mass of Sun:
    Kepler’s Third law :
    T² = 4 π² a³ / GM
    where “T” is orbital period in seconds, “a” is semi-major axis in metres, “G” is constant 6.673848e-11, and “M” is Solar mass in kg…
    M = 4 π² a³ / G T²
    and assigning T=365.25*86400 s, a=AU=149.597e9 m, gives Solar mass 1.9886e30 kg

    “G” constant is not exactly certain and “a” our distance to Sun is also not exactly certain, “T” should be measured quite perfectly… But the uncertainty in G is very tiny and uncertainty in “AU” distance is not more than a percent and rather less than a percent…

    At this distance it does not matter much, how is the mass arranged inside the Sun, if the core is heavy and dense and upper layers sparse or if the density is distributed more uniformly, but near the solar surface it may matter…

    Mass of Earth or Moon or other planets is not necessary to measure mass of the Sun. That same way they’ve calculated the mass of central “black hole” or something that does not shine in center of Milky Way where the stars orbit around it… They’ve measured some 3M solar masses, just from orbital period and semi-major axis of those stars orbiting around that without even knowing how are the orbiting stars heavy… (Once I’ve seen an animation from consecutive years showing the stars orbiting that “nothing visible” in the center…) (Then there is just uncertainty of our distance to those orbiting stars to measure their orbital axis by trigonometry but it would not be probably more than twice far or nearer than expected…)

    > if plasma is electrically charged, is it also therefore also subject to electric fields
    Electric and magnetic is just two sides of a same coin… Wherever electrically charged particles move, they generate magnetism…

    > Sun’s core rotates four times faster than its surface
    I somehow trusted more helioseismographic measurements which alleged to measure about 27 day period of inner solar rotation, below tachocline it should rotate more like a solid body…
    Here they claim about 430nHz internal rotation below tachocline which is about 26.9 days… (the bottom image with “Click on image for larger version” displays color scale for values…)
    (To which is tuned Moon sidereal orbit of 27.3 days – quite possibly artificially…?)

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