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Sunquakes May Arise 1,000 km Beneath Sun’s Surface

by Aakash Sharma

Sunquakes May Arise 1,000 km Beneath Sun’s Surface

January 5, 2021

A mystery behind the sunquakes' functioning – seismic movement on the Sun throughout solar flares – might be hidden below the solar facade.

The outcomes from research and observations initiated almost a decade ago affirmed that certain sunquakes’ acoustic origin lies approximately 700 miles (1126.5 km) underneath the Sun’s surface.

X Class Solar Flare NASA SDO
An X-class solar flare (X9.3) emitted on September 6, 2017, and captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory in extreme ultraviolet light. Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO

What are Sunquakes?

Scientists from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have a unique hypothesis regarding the seismic motion on the Sun during solar glares, which are also known as ‘sunquakes’. Scientists have continuously speculated that sunquakes are propelled by magnetic energies or heating of the external atmosphere, where the burst transpires. These waves were believed to dive down within the Sun’s surface and far into its interior.

But new results, applying data from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, have observed something offbeat. The new study based on SDO data infers that sunquakes result from something that lurks beneath the Sun’s surface.

As per NASA, sunquakes “release acoustic energy in the form of waves that undulate over the Sun’s surface, like waves on a water body, in the period following a solar flare – an outburst of light, energy, and substance observed in the Sun’s outer atmosphere.”

NASA SDO M8 1 Solar Flare
A secret behind the workings of sunquakes — seismic activity on the Sun during solar flares — might be hidden beneath the solar surface.
Submerged Source Sunquakes 2048x765 1
Solar flares trigger acoustic waves (sunquakes) that travel downward but, because of increasing temperatures, are bent or refracted back to the surface, where they produce ripples that can be seen by Earth-orbiting observatories. Solar physicists have discovered a sunquake generated by an impulsive explosion 1,000 kilometers below the flare (top), suggesting that the link between sunquakes and flares is not simple. Credit: UC Berkeley graphic by Juan Camilo Buitrago-Casas

Sunquake Theory Hints To Confirm Others

Scientists assume that an engulfed source induced these fluctuations. The solar flare somehow triggers the source in the atmosphere beyond. The new conclusions might help reveal a long-standing conundrum about sunquakes: why some of their properties look notably different from the flames that trigger them.

Scientists, however, can’t pinpoint the cause which results in sunquakes. NASA stated that they would be studying sunquakes strictly to find out if they begin from beneath the surface or not. Scientists intend to continue examining for a medium by looking at different sunquakes to see if they have similar submerged roots.

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