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Mysterious Inexplicable Waves Are Coming Out Of The Sun

Mysterious Inexplicable Waves Are Coming Out Of The Sun

Fast waves are coming out of the sun, a phenomenon that scientists have described as a ‘true mystery’.

Fast waves are coming out of the sun, a phenomenon that scientists have described as a ‘true mystery’. 

Researchers from NYU Abu Dhabi’s (NYUAD) Center for Space Science analysed 25 years of data from the sun and Earth to detect the swirls, known as high-frequency retrograde (HFR) waves.

As outlined in the study, these HFR waves – which move in the opposite direction of the sun’s rotation – are moving at three times the speed stated by current theory, and may help to further the world’s understanding of stars. 

An artistic impression of the HFR vorticity waves.
NYU Abu Dhabi

The method of analysing space is typically through conventional astronomy such as optical light or x-ray. However, the sun and stars can’t be examined this way, and therefore scientists rely on interpreting the variety of waves on the surface to understand their interiors. 

A number of conditions could lead to the HFR waves moving at the speed they’ve been discovered, such as complex interactions between other well known waves and magnetism, gravity or convection.

But as explained by Chris S. Hanson, who led the research, “If the HFR waves could be attributed to any of these three processes, then the finding would have answered some open questions we still have about the sun. However, these new waves don’t appear to be a result of these processes, and that’s exciting because it leads to a whole new set of questions.”

Equally surprised by the findings, Shravan Hanasoge, a co-author of the paper, said, “The very existence of HFR modes and their origin is a true mystery and may allude to exciting physics at play. It has the potential to shed insight on the otherwise unobservable interior of the sun.”


This research was conducted within NYUAD’s Center for Space Science in collaboration with the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and New York University, using both establishment’s computational resources. 

Titled ‘Discovery of high-frequency-retrograde vorticity waves in the Sun’ and published in the journal Nature Astronomy, the study offers greater insight into the analysis of the sun’s interior dynamics through the use of waves. 

This process is carried out to allow scientists to better understand the sun’s potential impact on the Earth and other planets in our solar system. 

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Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Science, Space