Study published on preprint server arXivBut without peer review, measurements of sound waves passing through the Sun have been used to measure its size. Now, scientists involved in the research may have changed our understanding of the size of our star.
It appears to be partly smaller than previously thought, which may change our understanding of its internal structure and behavior.
Normally, the method astronomers use to estimate the size of a star is the photosphere method, which is nothing more than measuring it from the part where it emits light, which is done during a solar eclipse.
However, the method of measuring using sound waves produces different results. In the 1990s, scientists measured the Sun this way from its surface, using so-called f-waves.
- The team was made up mainly of Douglas Goff, from the University of Cambridge, and Masao Takata, from the University of Tokyo;
- Using models of the Sun’s interior and the circulation of plasma beneath the Sun’s surface, the researchers found that the radius of the photosphere measured in this way is slightly smaller than if measured directly through the photosphere;
- This indicates that understanding of the Sun’s interior is incomplete;
- Since then, the duo has calculated the Sun’s radius using another form of sound waves, called p-waves, generated by the movement of material inside the star that can easily bypass the Sun’s core;
- The calculation obtained is smaller than the previous calculation, by a few hundredths of a percent.
Little difference, just no
This difference seems small, but it is not; Hey new world He suggests, based on Gough’s letter, that it is large enough to modify the properties we infer the Sun has according to the vibrations captured in its seismology.
Seismic inferences indicate matters related to nuclear reactions, chemical composition, and the basic structure of the Sun.
Douglas Goff, University of Cambridge
Gough and Takata also point out that different radii could also mean different depths to the solar plasma layers. William Chaplin, of the University of Birmingham, says there is “no possibility of arriving at wrong conclusions about the precise elements of the Sun’s internal structure” if we have the wrong radius.
Discovering how the sun’s rays relate to their internal structure could also help understand other stars, highlights Chaplin. However, understanding how our current model of the solar’s internal structure changes to adapt to the radius is not easy, according to Emily Brondsen of the University of York.
“Understanding why they are different is difficult, as there are several things going on,” he highlights.
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