Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Surface Of The Sun (TSOTS): The Strange Solar Claims of Michael Mozina. I.

This post is the first in a collection of responses to both Mike Mozina's "The Surface Of The Sun" web site as well as a number of the comments he posted to this blog recently.  I've consolidated some parts of the comments since Mr. Mozina makes many of the same complaints in multiple locations, while never actually addressing the facts against him.

These are errors over and above any issues with his attempts to map his claims to Birkeland's solar model which will be explored separately. 

Mr. Mozina Fails To Do Actual Measurements

Like most crank claims, Mr. Mozina derives his 'insights' from just 'looking' at the data, with no understanding of how the instruments work.  I've found no evidence that he has actually conducted measurements to support any of his claims.  I'll start by taking a look at this one posted under an earlier thread:
SDO shows the effect the coronal loops have of the surface of the photosphere as they rise up and through, and flow back into that surface. The patterns of magnetism on the surface of the photosphere that are caused by the current in the loops, also match up perfectly with the "bright points" seen in 1600A and 1700A, demonstrating a cause/effect link between the loops and the bright areas on that surface.
http://www.thesurfaceofthesun.com/images/sdo/mfield.mp4
http://www.thesurfaceofthesun.com/images/sdo/hmi-171.mp4
http://www.thesurfaceofthesun.com/images/sdo/discharge1600-131.mp4

The first image shows the magnetic field alignments on the surface of the photosphere using the HMI gear on SDO, overlaid with two iron ion wavelengths, 171A and 193A. What you'll observe is that the surface of the photosphere is black and white only in the areas where the largest loops are located, and those N/S alignments occur right along the trajectory of the loops, exactly as predicted by a subsurface origin of the loops. The second example demonstrates that this alignment occurs in other iron on wavelengths as predicted as well.

The third image is an SDO HMI continuum (white light) image overlaid with a 171A wavelength. You'll notice that the loops tend to flow right down along the penumbral filaments in this image, at exactly the right angles *if* (and only if) the loops are actually descending down into the photosphere. The orientation of 171 loops with the penumbral filaments is certainly no coincidence, it's directly related the orientation of the penumbral filaments. Again, this image is completely consistent with the transition region/subsurface stratification layer being located far under the photosphere. The alignment of the loops the penumbral filament angles would be meaningless if the loops were located a further 1200KM above the photosphere as LMSAL claims.
So Mr. Mozina's claim is that the photosphere which we see in visible light is actually UNDER the 'surface' perceived in the ultraviolet imagery we see from space-based solar observatories like SDO, SOHO, and TRACE.

Even Mr. Mozina's own Movies Don't Support This Claim
We can take a closer look at Mr. Mozina's movie file named hmi-171.mp4 (linked above).  Look at the limb of the Sun.  You can explore this in Mr. Mozina's movie, or view the data in better resolution online using the Helioviewer web tool.  In the image below, I've chosen the wavelengths of 171 Angstroms (gold color table) and HMI/intensity (yellow to black color table).

When overlaying the properly calibrated imagery, we clearly see the solar limb in the photospheric image (identified by the yellow arrow) is BELOW the solar limb in the ultraviolet image (blue arrow).  Further examination reveals this is true around the entire limb of the Sun.  This fact is true for other times as well.  This is contrary to what you see in Mr. Mozina's uncalibrated SDO 'first light' images which will be explored in a subsequent post.

When scientists 'look' at the data, that often includes taking actual measurements and comparing them to other observations as well as models.  After missions are launched, they undergo a calibration and checkout phase.  Many of these are used to determine precise pointing information and image scales so the new data can be compared with the results at different times as well as from other missions.

Models of Magnetic Fields Constructed from Data Don't Support Mozina's Claim

Potential-Field Source Surface (PFSS) models use Maxwell's equations and magnetograms generated from images of the solar photosphere as the source and LOWER BOUNDARY CONDITION, to construct the magnetic field above the surface (see Living Reviews in Solar Physics).  In the case of steady, stable coronal loops, the field lines map to the loops we see in ultraviolet light, right down to the photosphere.

Here's some examples collected from the SDO website on December 16, 2012:


The black and white image is a magnetogram, and provides the source magnetic field data to construct the field lines.  We see the field lines connect the dark and light regions.  In regions where the north and south magnetic regions are close together, we can see the field lines roughly trace out the plasma seen in ultraviolet light.
Deviations of these model field lines from the structures visible in ultraviolet light is used as a measure of potential flaring activity (see NASA: Scientists One Step Closer to Forecasting 'Clear Skies' for Astronauts)

But there's more.

Three-D Reconstruction From Multiple Satellites Don't Support Mozina's Claim

Consider this example that combines measurements from two satellites observing the Sun from two different angles, provided by the two STEREO spacecraft (Wikipedia).  In this case, the positions on the photosphere and corona in the third dimension are determined by triangulation (see STEREO: 3D reconstruction of coronal loops):

Link to movie flying around the 3-D reconstruction.

There are loads of similar analyses in recent years.  The grid below the loop reconstruction represents the solar photosphere (the surface where sunspots appear to Earth-based observers), supporting the point that Mr. Mozina's 'interpretation' of the coronal loop lines in ultraviolet imagery being seen going below the photosphere is clearly incorrect.

Mr. Mozina could have determined these facts for himself had he bothered to do even some basic research. 

Note: Since this is a multi-part post and commenters (this particularly means Mr. Mozina) may raise issues that will be dealt with in a future part, I will not release any comments to these threads until the complete series (currently scheduled as three entries) is posted.

Comments are now open.

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