To study the sun, solar win and get a closer look at it, a researcher’s team from University of Wisconsin-Madison has built a miniature model of Sun in the lab. This miniature has its ultrahot plasma as well as magnetic field. The scientists have built aluminum vacuum chamber which is 3meter or 10 feet wide. They call it ‘the Big Red Ball’ and it said to re-create a bit of solar physics that takes place inside and around the Sun.
Lead author of the study, Ethan Peterson who is graduate student in physics department told to a popular astronomy news platform that he was drawn to simplicity of the experiment and intense way of studying solar physics in the lab.
To mimic the sun’s magnetic field, they have set a huge magnet in the center of the model and helium will also be pumped in this little sun that will turn the gas into plasma by ionizing it. This will be continued by applying electric current which will spin plasma as well as magnetic field.
The sun and the surrounding atmosphere are mainly made up of plasma which is a mix of negatively and positively charged particles which are at extremely high temperature. The plasma is carried by the solar wind away from sun of it and into the space.
Peterson said that they know that sun is huge rotating plasma ball. So, they made plasma in dipole magnetic field and spun it to study what would happen. He along with Cary Forest, his physics professor, reproduced the ‘Parker Spiral’, named after the solar energy theorist, Eugene Parker. It mimics sun’s magnetic field that is formed on the sun’s surface by solar wind.
Peterson added their efforts were to try, confirm and refute the derivation from the theories of solar wind and heliospheric magnetic field that was already found by Eugene Parker in 1958.