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NASA's Chandra Neon Discovery Solves Solar Paradox

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Bill McBlueState Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 02:19 PM
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NASA's Chandra Neon Discovery Solves Solar Paradox
NASA's Chandra Neon Discovery Solves Solar Paradox
July 27, 2005

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory survey of nearby sun-like stars suggests there is nearly three times more neon in the sun and local universe than previously believed. If true, this would solve a critical problem with understanding how the sun works.


The accepted amount of neon in the sun has led to a paradox. The predicted location and size of the solar convection zone disagree with those deduced from solar oscillations. Solar oscillations is a technique astronomers previously relied on to probe the sun's interior. Several scientists have noted the problem could be fixed if the abundance of neon is in fact about three times larger than currently accepted.

Attempts to measure the precise amount of neon in the sun have been frustrated by a quirk of nature; neon atoms give off no signatures in visible light. However, in a gas heated to millions of degrees, neon shines brightly in X-rays. Stars like the sun are covered in this super-heated gas that is betrayed by the white corona around them during solar eclipses. However, observations of the sun's corona are very difficult to analyze.


"If the higher neon abundance measured by Drake and Testa is right, then it is a simultaneous triumph for Chandra and for the theory of how stars shine," said John Bahcall of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, N.J. Bahcall is an expert in the field who was not involved in the Chandra study. Drake is lead author of the study published in this week's issue of the journal Nature.


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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 02:44 PM
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1. The origin of the word "Chandra"
Doesn't it mean "Moon" in Sanskrit?

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Dudley_DUright Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 02:56 PM
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2. yes, but really named for a famous physicist
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar. Actually suggested in a naming contest by two co-winners.

NAME: Tyrel Johnson (Student)

I am submitting, as the name for the new Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility, (AXAF), "Chandrasekhar." This name is in honor of the great physicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar. Chandrasekhar calculated the maximum mass for a white dwarf star and the increase in electron degeneracy pressure as a white dwarf star contracts under gravity, and he did it all on a Brunsviga calculator over a period of about four or five months. He is also famous for his work on black hole perturbations and has written a book entitled "The Mathematical Theory of Black Holes," with which anyone should be able to make calculations for any black hole perturbations they desire. Chandrasekhar was also a co-winner of the 1983 Nobel prize in physics for work on the death of stars. He has also contributed to our understanding of pulsating stars. Chandrasekhar's proof of a maximum mass for white dwarf stars first led scientists to really look for other stellar graveyards, neutron stars, and led to the inevitable conclusion that implosion is compulsory and the discovery of black holes. In addition, Chandrasekhar provided the first mathematical proof that not all stars die a white dwarf "death."

NAME: Jatila van der Veen

I propose the name of Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, who is famous for the Chandrasekhar Limit of 1.4 solar masses as the greatest mass possible for a white dwarf star. He was a courageous pioneer in astrophysics, and passed away just a few years ago. His name has not been used on any of the satellites you list. Chandra means moon in Sanskrit; it is depicted in the hand gestures of BharataNatyam, the classical dance of South India, as a crescent moon, and is also used to indicate the passage of time as shown by the changing phases of the moon. I think this connotation, as well as being part of the name of a very prominent astrophysicist whose research on high energy astrophysical phenomena was crucial to our understanding of neutron stars and black holes, makes Chandra an appropriate name for the AXAF satellite.
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Kraklen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 03:44 PM
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3. I also believe that "Subrahmanyan" Sanskrit for the Japanese "Subaru" or as westerners call it- the Pleiades Cluster.
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Dudley_DUright Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 05:34 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Yes, not many people know that the Subaru hood ornament
is actually a picture of the Pleiades cluster.

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