It used to be known that this phenomenon could last for five minutes – but researchers have now discovered much longer periods where the sun sways. Hear the sound produced by the oscillations.
It was discovered that the sun makes ringing sounds as early as the 1960s, but then has been circling around periods that lasted about five minutes. Then science predicted that the stars should also oscillate for much longer periods, and now it has been shown that this is in fact the case with the Sun. It’s reports Max Planck Institute.
Oscillations can span the entire orbit of the Sun – 27 days. They appear on the surface in the form of huge vortices moving at a speed of five kilometers per hour. To find an explanation, physicists at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research and the University of Göttingen analyzed ten years of observations from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.
Depends on differential rotation
The vortices are the result of what is called differential gyration. This means that different parts of a gaseous body rotate at different speeds, and that the mass moves due to the large temperature difference between the core and the outside of the Sun. The researchers discovered that the vibrations come in dozens of different versions — some with the greatest strength at the poles, and others with a center closer or at the sun’s equator.
As early as the 1990s, brief vibrations could be used to build a picture of the Sun’s interior – in the same way that earthquakes can tell us about our planet’s interior. But with the researchers’ new computer models, they can now look deep into the sun and see its long oscillations in the form of a three-dimensional structure. How does the sun sing? Listen to the clip below:
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