Science & Tech

Scientists discover new truth about the Sun's structure

Scientists discover new truth about the Sun's structure
Sun Spots and Super Typhoons - TaiwanPlus News
TaiwanPlus / VideoElephant

Our understanding of the Sun may have completely changed after astronomers calculated that it might not be quite as big as we thought it was.

The Sun is so powerful that it can disrupt the Earth’s magnetic field giving us the Northern Lights. It also continually baffles scientists, as one recent discovery found that part of the Sun is broken.

Now, experts have discovered that the Sun may be a bit smaller than everyone thought, which could alter how we think of the star at the centre of our universe.

Two astronomers made the calculation that the radius of the Sun is smaller, by a few hundredths of a per cent, than originally believed.

The results, which are being peer-reviewed, are based on evidence gathered from sound waves that are made and trapped inside the burning hot sun.

These sound waves are known as p-modes and they make noise like a growling stomach, suggesting a pressure change in the Sun’s interior.

Analysing p-mode oscillations offers a “dynamically more robust” understanding of the Sun’s insides, according to astrophysicists Masao Takata from the University of Tokyo and Douglas Gough from Cambridge University.

According to their research using evidence from p-modes, the solar photospheric radius is fractionally smaller than calculations made using the traditional reference model for the Sun’s seismic radius that analyses waves called f-modes.

The reason for this difference is not very well understood. Astrophysicist Emily Brunsden told New Scientist: “To understand the reason for their difference is tricky because there’s just a lot of things going on.”

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