Researchers at CU Boulder have discovered hints that humanity's favorite star may have a dual personality, with intriguing discrepancies in its magnetic fields that could hold the sun's own "internal clock."
Physicists Loren Matilsky and Yuri Toomre developed a computer simulation of the sun's interior as a means of capturing the inner roiling turmoil of the star. In the process, the team spotted something unexpected: On rare occasions, the sun's internal dynamics may be out of their normal routines and switch to an alternate state — bit like a superhero trading cape and cowl for civilian clothes.
findings are only preliminary, Matilsky said, they can line up with real observations of the sun dating back to the 1
He added that the existence of such a solar alternative could provide physicists with new processes to the processes that govern the sun's internal clock — a cycle in which the sun switches from periods of high activity to low activity about once every 11 years.
more violent than others, "said Matilsky, a graduate student at JILA. "Our ultimate goal is to map what we're seeing in the model to the sun's surface so that we can make predictions."
He will present the team's findings at a press briefing today at the 234th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in St. Louis.
The study takes a deep look at a phenomenon that scientists call the solar "dynamo," essentially a concentration of the star's magnetic energy. This dynamo is formed by the spinning and twisting of the hot gases inside the sun and can have big impacts – an especially active solar dynamo can generate large numbers of sunspots and solar flares, or globs or energy that blast out from the surface. ] But that dynamo isn't easy to study, Matilsky said. That's because it mainly forms and evolves within the sun's interior, out of range of most scientific instruments.
" the sun's internal magnetism and few steps removed from real observations, "he said.
"It gives us clues to how the sun might shut off its dynamo and turn itself back on again, "he said.
Study corroborates the influence of planetary tidal forces on solar activity
The sun may have a dual personality, simulation suggest (2019, June 12)
retrieved June 12, 2019
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.