A team of physicists at Northumbria University, UK, has found that the Sun’s magnetic waves behave differently than believed.
Researchers have reported their findings in Nature Astronomy.
Northumbria University’s Dr. Richard Morton and colleagues examined data gathered over a 10-year period. So, they found that sound waves escaping out from the Sun can excite the magnetic waves in the Sun’s corona – the outermost layer of the Sun’s atmosphere. The corona remains hidden due to the bright light of the Sun’s surface. So, scientists can only see it using special instruments.
These waves are also responsible for heating and accelerating powerful solar wind from the Sun which travels through the Solar System.
The winds travel at speeds of around a million miles per hour. They also affect the atmosphere of stars and planets, impacting on their own magnetic fields, and cause phenomena such as Aurora.
These magnetic waves, known as Alfvénic waves, are low-frequency traveling oscillation of the ions and the magnetic field. Scientists previously thought the waves originate at the sun’s surface, where boiling hydrogen reaches temperatures of 6,000 degrees and churns the sun’s magnetic field.
Scientists named these waves after Hannes Alfvén who in 1942 proposed the existence of electromagnetic-hydrodynamic waves. These waves can carry energy from Sun’s photosphere to heat up the corona and the solar wind.