APOD: A Colorful Solar Corona over the... (2016 Jan 11)

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APOD: A Colorful Solar Corona over the... (2016 Jan 11)

Post by APOD Robot » Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:20 am

Image A Colorful Solar Corona over the Himalayas

Explanation: What are those colorful rings around the Sun? A corona visible only to Earth observers in the right place at the right time. Rings like this will sometimes appear when the Sun or Moon is seen through thin clouds. The effect is created by the quantum mechanical diffraction of light around individual, similarly-sized water droplets in an intervening but mostly-transparent cloud. Since light of different colors has different wavelengths, each color diffracts differently. Solar Coronae are one of the few quantum color effects that can be easily seen with the unaided eye. This type of solar corona is a visual effect due to water in Earth's atmosphere and is altogether different from the solar corona that exists continually around the Sun -- and stands out during a total solar eclipse. In the foreground is the famous Himalayan mountain peak Ama Dablam (Mother's Necklace),

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Solar Corona over the... (2016 Jan 11)

Post by yasgur » Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:23 am

Hah! It's either the above or you've got cataracts. Just had my eyes done. :D

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Solar Corona over the... (2016 Jan 11)

Post by Beyond » Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:52 am

What an unusually nice picture of our neighborhood star. My first thought when i saw it, was 'Ann'. I think It would make a very good avatar for a color commentator.
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Re: APOD: A Colorful Solar Corona over the... (2016 Jan 11)

Post by Guest » Mon Jan 11, 2016 6:03 am

When it says "A corona visible only to Earth observers", is that just badly worded? I would have thought that a corona would be visible of any planet (Venus & gas giants excluded), including Pluto and moons with atmospheric vapor, where diffraction may occur. Would it matter what the atmospheric vapor was made of? Would a cloud of (perhaps) methane diffract differently?

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Solar Corona over the... (2016 Jan 11)

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon Jan 11, 2016 6:41 am

Guest wrote:When it says "A corona visible only to Earth observers", is that just badly worded? I would have thought that a corona would be visible of any planet (Venus & gas giants excluded), including Pluto and moons with atmospheric vapor, where diffraction may occur. Would it matter what the atmospheric vapor was made of? Would a cloud of (perhaps) methane diffract differently?
I think it just means it's an atmospheric phenomenon, nothing to do with the Sun itself. Not that similar coronas wouldn't be visible from some other bodies.
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Re: APOD: A Colorful Solar Corona over the... (2016 Jan 11)

Post by Ann » Mon Jan 11, 2016 7:23 am

Beyond wrote:What an unusually nice picture of our neighborhood star. My first thought when i saw it, was 'Ann'. I think It would make a very good avatar for a color commentator.
Thanks, Beyond! It's flattering to be associated with a fine photograph. This APOD is indeed very nice and colorful. :ssmile:

I'll stick to my Pleiades avatar, though.

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Solar Corona over the... (2016 Jan 11)

Post by manfred the cat » Mon Jan 11, 2016 9:12 am

Hi everyone,
I'm just wondering why it is said that the effect is "quantum mechanical diffraction of light"? Just because photons are both particles and waves? One usually do not describe a regular rainbow as being "quantum". Diffraction is not a quantum phenomenon, light dispersion isn't either. Am I missing something?
Thanks for your comments.
jl.

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Solar Corona over the... (2016 Jan 11)

Post by geckzilla » Mon Jan 11, 2016 9:32 am

manfred the cat wrote:Hi everyone,
I'm just wondering why it is said that the effect is "quantum mechanical diffraction of light"? Just because photons are both particles and waves? One usually do not describe a regular rainbow as being "quantum". Diffraction is not a quantum phenomenon, light dispersion isn't either. Am I missing something?
Thanks for your comments.
jl.
This is presumably something very like the double-slit experiment except that these round droplets are doing the diffraction and somehow creating a giant corona.
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Re: APOD: A Colorful Solar Corona over the... (2016 Jan 11)

Post by manfred the cat » Mon Jan 11, 2016 9:45 am

er... I'm not sure of the similarity, but OK, that's a lead...

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Solar Corona over the... (2016 Jan 11)

Post by Les Cowley » Mon Jan 11, 2016 11:00 am

About corona formation here:
http://www.atoptics.co.uk/droplets/corform.htm
It's a straightforward wave diffraction effect - Nothing to do with quantum mechanics.

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Solar Corona over the... (2016 Jan 11)

Post by Lasse H » Mon Jan 11, 2016 11:14 am

The first thing that struck me was the slight asymmetry of the circles (wider at the top and narrower at the bottom). Nobody else seems to have commented on this. Is the explanation complex, or is it just to do with the camera (some kind of non-orthographic projection due to the optics)?

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Solar Corona over the... (2016 Jan 11)

Post by Les Cowley » Mon Jan 11, 2016 11:41 am

The first thing that struck me was the slight asymmetry of the circles (wider at the top and narrower at the bottom).
Coronae can be distorted in shape if there are variations in cloud droplet size. In the extreme the corona becomes disordered cloud iridescence
http://www.atoptics.co.uk/droplets/irid1.htm
However, this one looks like lens distortion. The image is very strongly enhanced indeed and coronae are never this colourful.

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Solar Corona over the... (2016 Jan 11)

Post by MattF » Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:03 pm

Les Cowley wrote:About corona formation here:
http://www.atoptics.co.uk/droplets/corform.htm
It's a straightforward wave diffraction effect - Nothing to do with quantum mechanics.
I agree. The wavelengths are 1000s of times larger than atomic sizes-- it's an entirely classical effect. Probably goes beyond geometrical optics, but that's all.

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Solar Corona over the... (2016 Jan 11)

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon Jan 11, 2016 2:53 pm

manfred the cat wrote:Hi everyone,
I'm just wondering why it is said that the effect is "quantum mechanical diffraction of light"? Just because photons are both particles and waves? One usually do not describe a regular rainbow as being "quantum". Diffraction is not a quantum phenomenon, light dispersion isn't either.
Diffraction requires quantum mechanics for a complete description. It is reasonably called "quantum mechanical". However, since this particular phenomenon is adequately described by the classical treatment of diffraction (and far simpler than a QM analysis!), the qualification in this case seems unnecessary and potentially confusing.
Chris

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Solar Corona over the... (2016 Jan 11)

Post by Ron-Astro Pharmacist » Mon Jan 11, 2016 7:20 pm

This is either a beautiful view of a rare atmospheric condition or a comet coming right at you.

Duck!
Last edited by Ron-Astro Pharmacist on Mon Jan 11, 2016 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: APOD: A Colorful Solar Corona over the... (2016 Jan 11)

Post by neufer » Mon Jan 11, 2016 7:32 pm

Douglas Hofstadter wrote:

<<"In the end, we self-perceiving, self-inventing, locked-in mirages are little miracles of self-reference. […] Our very nature is such as to prevent us from fully understanding its very nature. Poised midway between the unvisualizable cosmic vastness of curved spacetime and the dubious, shadowy flickerings of charged quanta, we human beings, more like rainbows and mirages than like raindrops or boulders, are unpredictable self-writing poems — vague, metaphorical, ambiguous, and sometimes exceedingly beautiful."

- (Epilogue: _I Am a Strange Loop_, p. 363 )
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Re: APOD: A Colorful Solar Corona over the... (2016 Jan 11)

Post by heehaw » Mon Jan 11, 2016 8:09 pm

We are all quantum-mechanical now.

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Solar Corona over the... (2016 Jan 11)

Post by Boomer12k » Mon Jan 11, 2016 8:14 pm

Spectacular....I saw a different phenomena...at least for me....the Sun was behind and above some clouds, nestled away....It was a lot like the video where the Sun sets at the Golden Gate Bridge awhile back...a lower image of the Sun kind of elongated the look of it.... like a ball with a lower knob. Did not get a pic of it as by the time I would have gotten back out, it might have been gone.

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Solar Corona over the... (2016 Jan 11)

Post by geckzilla » Mon Jan 11, 2016 9:50 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
manfred the cat wrote:Hi everyone,
I'm just wondering why it is said that the effect is "quantum mechanical diffraction of light"? Just because photons are both particles and waves? One usually do not describe a regular rainbow as being "quantum". Diffraction is not a quantum phenomenon, light dispersion isn't either.
Diffraction requires quantum mechanics for a complete description. It is reasonably called "quantum mechanical". However, since this particular phenomenon is adequately described by the classical treatment of diffraction (and far simpler than a QM analysis!), the qualification in this case seems unnecessary and potentially confusing.
IIRC this isn't the first time quantum mechanics has been confusingly invoked in an APOD description. Checking... yes. The last time was here: http://asterisk.apod.com/viewtopic.php?t=34872
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Re: APOD: A Colorful Solar Corona over the... (2016 Jan 11)

Post by heehaw » Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:04 pm

This is a good discussion, actually. Got me thinking. I really suggest an APOD of a white dwarf (Procyon and its wd companion would be ideal) and refer to Procyon and its quantum-mechanical white dwarf companion. That would be a use of "quantum-mechanical" that would be totally appropriate, because the only thing that keeps a white dwarf star from collapsing is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which is unequivocally quantum mechanical. And yet the object, the star, is macroscopic!

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Solar Corona over the... (2016 Jan 11)

Post by heehaw » Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:16 pm

White dwarf as quantum-mechanical object? yes! the uncertainty principle is Δr × Δp = h (Planck constant). Each electron in Sirius B is confined to such a tiny Δr that Δp (the uncertainty in the momentum) must be very great, no matter how cold the gas is! So, it can't collapse! (at still higher pressures, the electrons merge with the protons and form neutrons, and so collapse does occur, until the quantum-mechanical momentum of the neutrons provides support, and now you have a neutron star.) Really extremely simple physics, with huge intellectual consequences!

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Re: APOD: A Colorful Solar Corona over the... (2016 Jan 11)

Post by neufer » Mon May 04, 2020 12:35 am

Click to play embedded YouTube video.
heehaw wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:04 pm

This is a good discussion, actually. Got me thinking. I really suggest an APOD of a white dwarf (Procyon and its wd companion would be ideal) and refer to Procyon and its quantum-mechanical white dwarf companion. That would be a use of "quantum-mechanical" that would be totally appropriate, because the only thing that keeps a white dwarf star from collapsing is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which is unequivocally quantum mechanical. And yet the object, the star, is macroscopic!
Art Neuendorffer