Science and Nature

Sunquakes may originate more than 1,000 km beneath Sun’s surface, says NASA

Sunquakes may originate more than 1,000 km beneath Sun’s surface, says NASA thumbnail

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |

Updated: January 7, 2021 8:57:53 am

Solar flares (File: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Scientific Visualization Studio)

Scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have a new theory about the seismic activity on the Sun during solar flares, which are also known as sunquakes. Earlier, scientists used to believe that the reason behind it is the magnetic forces or heating of the outer atmosphere of the Sun. However, a new study based on data provided by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) suggests that sunquakes are a result of something that lurks beneath the surface of the Sun.

As per NASA, sunquakes “release acoustic energy in the form of waves that ripple along the Sun’s surface, like waves on a lake, in the minutes following a solar flare – an outburst of light, energy, and material seen in the Sun’s outer atmosphere”.

In July 2011, SDO observed an sunquake with unusual traits as it had sharp ripples produced from a somewhat average flare. These waves were furthered tracked by the scientists using helioseismic holography, a technique that has earlier been used by scientists to measure other phenomenons with the help of SDO’s Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager.

The results from observations found that the acoustic source of these sunquakes lies nearly 700 miles (1126.5 km) below the Sun’s surface, which contradicts what scientists used to believe before. These results have been published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters.

It is to be kept in mind that scientists still can’t pin-point the reason which causes sunquakes. However, NASA said that they will be looking at sunquakes closely to find out if they originate from beneath the surface or not.

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