NASA, Goddard Space Field Station and Space Image Science Institute scientists are studying how the Sun’s corona and plasma interacts with a solar system-like corona of stars that surrounds it.
The team used NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) instrument to scan for the remnants of a solar corona in the Southern Hemisphere.
It also captured images of the coronal surface and found two types of material in the corona: a dense and dense cloud of gas that is likely made of water ice and dust, and a liquid that may be an ice crystal or a liquid iron-oxide mixture.
“This is a unique opportunity to study the formation of solar coronal material in an extended observational time frame that has been largely unexplored,” said NASA’s Andrew Siemion, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral researcher at NASA Goddard.
In the future, the team hopes to develop algorithms that could be used to analyze how the material is made.
While there is no direct evidence that the coronas themselves contain water ice, the researchers have found a large amount of water in the outer regions of the solar system.
According to the scientists, this water ice could have come from the outer layers of the star and its rings, as well as from material inside the solar wind itself.
Water ice is a key ingredient in the solar material that is responsible for making solar flares and coronal masses ejections, which are remnants of the massive explosions that created the Sun.
Scientists believe that these coronal ejections are produced when massive particles of solar material collide with Earth, causing them to heat up.
NASA scientists are also studying the properties of the material.
“We have identified a variety of sources of water that could potentially be forming in the inner corona,” said Siemion.
A study from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, revealed that the Sun is made up mostly of water, but there are two main types of materials that can make up the outer layer of the Sun: iron-oxides and water ice.
This material, called the corondimorphic cloud, contains a mixture of iron and iron-oxygen molecules.
JPL is working on a new method to investigate these materials.
But the team is also studying materials inside the corosphere, which is the layer of space between the corus and the Sun that is dominated by material made of liquid iron.
What is in the atmosphere?
In 2014, scientists from the Space Telescope Science Institute found evidence of water vapor in the Sun and a possible water vapor atmosphere in its corona.
They found that water vapor exists at temperatures of about 300 degrees Celsius, which scientists attribute to the coronic magnetic field.
However, it has not yet been observed in the atmospheres of any other stars.
To find out more about the solar coronacors, NASA scientists are looking for signs of dust and gas in the region.
Currently, the Sun has around 1,200 stars and about 10 billion stars are known to be in the habitable zone.
Researchers also hope to search for the presence of water and other elements in the planet’s atmosphere.
Image credit: NASA Goddard, JPSL/AURA.