New Study Reveals That Sun’s Core Rotates Four Times Faster Than Its Surface

Posted: Aug 5 2017, 5:58am CDT | by , Updated: Aug 5 2017, 7:24am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
New Observations Reveal Sun’s Core Rotates Four Times Faster than its Surface
Credit: ESA

The idea that solar core could be rotating more rapidly than surface has been cosidered for many years, but has never been measured before

Researchers have found evidence showing that Sun’s core is rotating four times faster than its surface. The findings come as a surprise, contrary to expectations, the rotational speed of solar core is not same as its surface. These observations were made possible by using ESA and NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory or SOHO and they reveal how little we know about our closer neighbor: sun.

“This is certainly the biggest result of SOHO in the last decade, and one of SOHO’s all-time top discoveries.” Bernhard Fleck, ESA’s SOHO project scientist based at NASA said in a statement.

Researchers have known for some time that sun is not a solid body. It is a hot ball of gas and that its surface spins more slowly than its core but they have not been able to accurately measure the difference between the rotations of its interior and exterior layers. Moreover, they do not have good explanation for this difference – until now.

“The most likely explanation is that this core rotation is left over from the period when the sun formed, some 4.6 billion years ago,” said co researcher Roger Ulrich, a UCLA professor emeritus of astronomy. “It’s a surprise, and exciting to think we might have uncovered a relic of what the sun was like when it first formed.”

In this new effort, researchers have been able to found the evidence of gravity waves in Sun atmosphere. This is similar to seismic waves generated by earthquakes. Seismic waves travel through Earth’s interior and allow seismologists to study our planet’s structure. Solar physicists also track these kinds of waves to study the Sun’s interior structure.

To gain a better understanding of what is happening with the sun, researchers used around 17 years of data collected by SOHO’s Global Oscillations at Low Frequencies. By applying various statistical techniques, they were able to pick out a regular imprint of the g-waves or gravity waves in solar core. The imprint of these gravity waves suggests that the solar core rotates once every week, nearly four times faster than the Sun’s surface and intermediate layers. Understanding rotation of the solar core may also give a clue to how the sun was formed billions of years ago.

“G-modes have been detected in other stars, and now thanks to SOHO we have finally found convincing proof of them in our own star,” said lead author Eric Fossat. “It is really special to see into the core of our own Sun to get a first indirect measurement of its rotation speed. But, even though this decades-long search is over, a new window of solar physics now begins.”

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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