A team of global astronomers recently found that the Sun’s core rotates near four times faster than its surface. European Space Agency and NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), together, helped the solar scientists find evidence of a type of seismic wave in the Sun. These waves are known as g-modes and are low-frequency waves. These waves revealed that solar core is actually rotating four times faster than its surface. “This is certainly the biggest result of SOHO in the last decade, and one of SOHO’s all-time top discoveries, ESA’s SOHO project scientist based at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
The solar physicists used helioseismology to study the Sun’s interior structure by tracking the way waves move on the star. The scientists used over 16 years of data collected by SOHO’s GOLF instrument (Global Oscillations at Low Frequencies). The study was published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics. 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.
Why is it important?
1. The Sun’s core may give a clue of how the Sun was formed.
2. After the Sun formed, the solar wind likely slowed the rotation of the outer part of the sun.
3. The rotation might also impact sunspots, which also rotate.