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the turbulent photosphere


If we take a closer look at the photosphere, away from sunspots, we see that the surface of the Sun is in turmoil. The convection zone is bubbling away and the photosphere is like the cheese topping on a pizza in the microwave.


Here’s a close up of the photosphere.


Close up of photosphere


The tiny bright patches are where hot material is bubbling up from below and the dark edges are where it’s cooled and is falling back down again.


The surface is bubbling just like a sort of solar soup.

Here are some objects that are found on Earth. Do you think the photosphere looks similar to any of these?


Dinosaur skin

Can you guess what these 3 things are?

(Put your mouse over the pictures to see if you got them right!)


Solar scientists chose the name ‘solar granulation’ to describe what the bubbling surface looks like.
We think it looks more like beans.

What do you think?


You can see more movies in our Gallery
  [Movie file 1mb or more - High quality]



Hot plasma appears bright in this movie. Notice how it flows up in the centre of a convection cell, called a granule, cools (darkens in the movie) and flows down at the edges. These granules look small on your screen, but they’re typically about 1,000 km across and last only about 20 minutes.




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