Sun-like Stars Rotate Faster At The Equator Than At Poles

Posted: Sep 21 2018, 10:08am CDT | by , in Latest Science News


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Sun-like Stars Rotate Faster at the Equator than at Poles
The blue arrows in the figure represent rotation speed. Credit: MPI for Solar System Research/

Differential rotation plays a crucial role in the generation of the solar magnetic field.

Researchers have for the first time precisely measured the rotation pattern of sun-like stars and found that these stars rotate up to two and a half times faster at the equator than at higher latitudes. Precision measurements like this one can act as windows into sun-like stars and can offer clues to how these objects formed.

Scientists have known for some time that sun’s rotates faster at its equator than its poles. This process is known as differential rotation, meaning different points on the sun rotate at different speeds. The situation is similar in modest-mass, cool stars like the Sun. But the major difference between the two is that sun rotates about 10 percent faster at equator than its mid latitudes. On the other hand, sun-like stars’ equators rotate almost twice as fast as their mid latitudes.

“This is very unexpected, and challenges current numerical simulations, which suggest that stars like these should not be able to sustain differential rotation of this magnitude.” Lead author Othman Benomar from NYU Abu Dhabi Center for Space Science said.

Rotation can provide a reliable determinant of the age of a star and also helps drive the mechanisms that generate stellar magnetic fields. Difference in rotation speeds causes fluctuations in sun's magnetic fields. In the case of sun-like stars that have different rotation pattern than sun, there may be a fundamentally different mechanism. However, this mechanism along with details of magnetic field is not well understood.

“Understanding differential rotation – how fast one part of a star spins compared to the rest – is not only important for a complete understanding of how a star works, it will help us gain deeper insights about their magnetic fields.” Katepalli Sreenivasan, principal investigator of the NYU Abu Dhabi, explained.

To determine with precision how Sun-like stars rotate, researchers used observations from NASA's Kepler mission and asteroseismology – the study of sound waves traveling inside stars. Different stellar oscillations penetrate to different depths inside the star.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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