Scientists have detected ‘convincing proof’ of an elusive type of seismic wave in the sun, helping to solve a decades-long mystery on the movement of material at the core.
While experts have long suspected gravity waves could be a key component of the core’s rotation, they’ve so far been unable to pinpoint them, despite four decades of searching.
Now, using ESA and NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, scientists have finally found evidence of these low-frequency waves, revealing the core spins much faster than the sun’s surface.
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While experts have long suspected gravity waves (g-modes) could be a key component of the core’s rotation, they’ve so far been unable to pinpoint them, despite four decades of searching. Now, scientists have finally found 'convincing proof' of these waves
The researchers investigated a p-mode parameter that measures how long it takes for an acoustic waves to travel through the sun and back to the surface, according to NASA.
This trip is known to take four hours and seven minutes.
And, based on the signature of the g-waves in this parameter, they determined the g-waves are ‘shaking the structure of the sun’s core.’
According to NASA, the find indicates that the core rotates once every week – nearly four times faster than the surface and intermediate layers.
These other layers have rotation periods from 25 days at the equator to 35 days at the poles.
‘This is certainly the biggest result in the last decade, and one of SOHO’s all-time top discoveries,’ said Bernhard Fleck, ESA’s SOHO project based at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
Before now, scientists have only been able to study sound waves on the sun, according to NASA.
These waves are constantly generated due to the continuous convection of solar material beneath the surface.
Gravity waves, or g-waves, on the other hand, are fluid waves that