Sun’s core rotates 4X faster than surface


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The uncertainties of science: Scientists have discovered that the core of the Sun rotates four times faster than its surface layers.

The rotation of the solar core may give a clue to how the sun formed. After the sun formed, the solar wind likely slowed the rotation of the outer part of the sun, he said. The rotation might also impact sunspots, which also rotate, Ulrich said. Sunspots can be enormous; a single sunspot can even be larger than the Earth.

The researchers studied surface acoustic waves in the sun’s atmosphere, some of which penetrate to the sun’s core, where they interact with gravity waves that have a sloshing motion similar to how water would move in a half-filled tanker truck driving on a curvy mountain road. From those observations, they detected the sloshing motions of the solar core. By carefully measuring the acoustic waves, the researchers precisely determined the time it takes an acoustic wave to travel from the surface to the center of the sun and back again. That travel time turns out to be influenced a slight amount by the sloshing motion of the gravity waves, Ulrich said.

This phenomenon had been predicted more than twenty years ago, but never observed until now.

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4 comments

  • Diane Wilson

    Going to complete speculation mode for now, but I assume that this rotation differential also has a significant influence on the magnetic field, which is curiously not mentioned in this excerpt although they do discuss both acoustic and gravity waves. (Yes, I know, go read the whole thing. I will.)

    But that speculation extends to Saturn, which does have a magnetic field, but where Cassini has recently documented that the magnetic field has no tilt relative to the planet’s axis. Could a gas giant’s core also rotate faster than its surface or atmosphere? Could this be the source of Saturn’s magnetic field? Could this be why we still can’t measure the length of Saturn’s day?

    It seems to be my day for asking unanswerable questions.

  • Ryan Lawson

    I have often speculated that the same should apply to the Earth, if there is a liquid layer between the solid core and the mantle, tidal effects of the Moon have been sapping rotational energy from the outer layers of the Earth more.

  • Ryan Lawson: Just so you know, researchers have already found that the Earth’s core rotates at a different speed than its outer layers. In 2004 I wrote an article for Natural History outlining the state of research at the time. One of the discoveries (that still stands, though with many uncertainties) is that the Earth’s core appears to be rotating slightly faster than the mantle and crust, with a slippage of about a third of a degree per year.

  • Max

    Diane,
    Good point about the magnetic field.
    If the rotation of the Sun’s core creates the extremely strong magnetic field, then does that mean the core reverses rotation every 11 years? Or perhaps the core just flips over like the magnetic field.
    I think it is more likely that the suns magnetic field, which changes strength with the sunspot cycle, has more to do with large electrical currents just under the surface similar to what we just discovered on Jupiter.
    There are many theories as to which causes the giant currents that result in massive Solar flares that produce not only the energies of thousands of nuclear bombs, but acoustic waves like earthquakes that flow through the Sun.
    The theory of nuclear fusion creating the heat and light is suspect due to the fact that no nuclear reaction can occur without nuclear by products i.e. gamma radiation. The sun produces a “factor of three” less gamma rays then is needed for the energy provided. Enough to irradiate this world lifeless and flood interstellar space. Outer space is strangely quiet, with the exception of a occasional gamma source like a supernova. ( I would remind the readers that gamma radiation cannot be shielded. Half of all gamma rays that hit this planet pass right through, but the ones that hit do a lot of damage)
    The electrical currents are most likely caused by the heat differential between the core and the surface. A thermal conductor in a medium of hydrogen gas which is the most heat conductive of any gas. Although hydrogen is not very conductive of electricity under low pressure on the surface, Under pressure it becomes super conductive. In the presence of magnetic fields on the other hand it is diamagnetic and is repelled from the currents magnetism. This explains much about the Sun’s dark spots. magnetism is so strong that pushes away surface elements creating a photosphere hole that is 3000° cooler than its surrounding. Electrical currents produced here have to overcome the resistance of the magnetic field producing light in a higher spectral range. The hole only appears to be black when it’s actually extremely bright with UV / x-rays which are both outside of our eyes perception.
    Another source of electrical currents is friction, similar to what makes lightning in the clouds. (this is thought to be mostly A chemical reaction involving acid rain which is normal)
    Speaking of chemical reactions, hydrogen bonds with a host of common elements which gives off heat. The molecule becomes heavier and cooler and circulates back towards the inner part of the Sun. The heat will cause the bonding to break apart giving up an electron in a never ending cycle.

    Gravitational waves? Did a black hole collide with our Sun and LIGO picked it up? As I understand it, gravitational waves are extremely hard to pick up. Acoustic waves been interrupted by gravitational waves is highly suspect. It is more likely that the acoustic waves are running into vortices, temperature pockets, internal explosions and currents that interrupt The wave just as pockets of oil under earths crust changes the acoustic wave in the seismograph.
    Like the claim that the solar wind had slowed the surface atmospheric rotation. Solar wind projects outward from the sun just like the light. It does not blow in a particular direction to drive the solar atmosphere. next they will be be telling us that the equator rotates 10 days quicker than the poles because the solar wind is stronger at the equator…. Or of that Venus atmosphere is blown by the solar wind so that it rotates around Venus once every two days, even though Venus does not rotate but once every 10 months… Junk science.

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