Scientists discover mysterious waves on the Sun at an inexplicable speed – 03/27/2022

Scientists discover mysterious waves on the Sun at an inexplicable speed - 03/27/2022

Researchers at the Center for Space Science at New York University in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, have identified a new set of solar waves that mysteriously appear to travel three times faster than predicted. The discovery opens up the possibility of understanding the interior of the Sun, which is not normally observed even by space telescopes.

“Discovery of high-frequency retrograde vortex waves in the Sun”, published in Scientific Papers in the journal Nature Astronomy, Chris S. Hanson and his colleagues describe how they analyzed 25 years of space and terrestrial data to trace them. High-frequency retrograde waves (HFR) appear as eddies or vortices on the solar surface, and travel in the opposite direction of the Sun’s rotation.

a new puzzle

The fact that these waves travel at three times the speed established by current theory leads researchers to believe that there are physical processes that still need to be understood.

“Finding a set of waves that have no current explanation is exciting and interesting, because the challenge now is to uncover what they are,” Hanson said in an interview with New Scientist. “We are missing a component in our understanding of the Sun.”

The Sun or the interior of stars cannot be imaged by instruments such as optical or X-ray telescopes. For this reason, scientists rely on “observing” the interior to interpret surface waves. These new HFR waves may be important pieces in the puzzle of our understanding of stars.

Currently, researchers are focusing their efforts on understanding why these waves move so fast. Interactions between other known waves and magnetism, gravity or convection are some possible explanations.

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“It is very hard to imagine a scenario where one of them is not playing any role in increasing the pace. [das ondas]”, he said. The researchers could not think of a more plausible mechanism, and hope that a more detailed study will be able to explain these strange waves in the future.

the answer may be on earth

The answer to understanding the phenomenon is probably very close to us. A similar type of wave may occur in Earth’s oceans, where waves called Rossby waves travel faster than researchers thought.

“In the absence of Rossby’s explanation of fast HFR solar or ocean waves, we can only say that the similarities are worth investigating,” commented Hanson. The parallel could help solve this mystery on the Sun by studying it on Earth.

About the author: Raven Weber

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