Surprising Discovery: Our Sun Could Actually Be Smaller Than Previously Believed, According to ScienceAlert

New evidence suggests that the Sun’s radius is actually a few hundredths of a percent smaller than previously believed. This revelation might seem insignificant on the surface, but it could significantly impact our understanding of the star at the center of our Solar System.

Researchers based their findings on sound waves trapped within the Sun’s hot plasma, known as p-modes. These resonating noises, similar to a growling stomach, provide valuable insight into pressure changes occurring within the Sun’s interior.

Astrophysicists Masao Takata and Douglas Gough argue that studying p-mode oscillations allows for a more robust view of the Sun’s interior compared to other sound waves. The Sun can be compared to a ringing bell, constantly being “struck” by myriad tiny particles, creating a seismic commotion that produces oscillating sound waves or ‘modes’.

P-modes, which are produced via pressure fluctuations in the Sun’s interior, provide unique information about the Sun’s structure. While traditional reference models for the Sun’s radius are based on f-modes, Takata and Gough suggest that p-modes are more reliable due to their ability to reach further and bypass certain limitations.

Their calculations using only p-mode frequencies imply that the Sun’s photospheric radius is slightly smaller than previously thought, challenging established models and theories. While the difference may seem minuscule, it has far-reaching implications for the scientific community.

Explaining the reasons for this difference is complex due to the multitude of factors at play. This groundbreaking research, currently undergoing peer review, could reshape our understanding of the Sun and the universe as a whole.

The preprint paper detailing these findings was published on arXiv.


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