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Is the Sun Slowing Down? Researchers Introduced a Solution to the Solar Mystery

Dec 14, 2016 08:54 AM EST
Post-Flare Loops Erupt From Suns Surface
A team of scientists say that the Sun's outer layer is spinning slower compared to its core.
(Photo : NASA via Getty Images)

Life depends on the Sun, as the bright star is the center of the Solar System. But what if the Sun dies or slows down? Will it affect life on Earth as people know it?

Apparently, the Sun is actually slowing down. This solar mystery has baffled scientists for a very long time. Researchers discovered that five percent of the outer layer of the Sun moves slower compared to the rest of its composition. Now, scientists offer a solution to the solar mystery by dissecting the mechanism that's responsible for the slowing down of the Sun's outer layer.

Scientists will publish the findings in the journal of Physical Review Letters. The team was composed of scientists from Maui, Brazil, and Standford.

Despite the fact that the Sun may indeed be spinning slower, or at least part of it, it shouldn't cause an alarm. "The sun won't stop spinning anytime soon, but we've discovered that the same solar radiation that heats the Earth is 'braking' the sun because of Einstein's Special Relativity, causing it to gradually slow down, starting from its surface," Jeff Kuhn, team leader for the new study said in a statement.

The Sun follows an entirely different rotation pattern on its axis compared to Earth. In order to discover the cause why the outer layer of the Sun spins slower than its core, the researchers used information gathered by the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager. The imager is onboard NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory that is observing the Sun 24/7. NASA SDO is responsible for the discovery and observation of the Sun's activities including solar flares and other unusual phenomena.

The data from SDO allowed the scientist to study the rotation rate of the Sun."This is a gentle torque that is slowing it down, but over the sun's 5 billion year lifetime it has had a very noticeable influence on its outer 35,000km," Kuhn said in a statement.

The idea is to explore the "photo-braking" effect that is evident in most stars. The paper would also like to delve into the possibility of how the Earth is affected by the said photon-braking phenomena.

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