Scientists ‘take action’ on the Sun for two years to see if it is really a flattened sphere
For over two centuries, astronomers know that the sun’s activity is cyclical and waxes and wanes in periods of eleven years, known as solar cycles . We are currently in cycle 24.
With the change of the solar cycle, scientists believed that the sun also changed its shape. However, a group of researchers at the University of Hawaii has measured the shape of the Sun during a period of two years and concluded that it is far more constant than previously thought . The research, which uses data from the Solar Dynamics Observatory of NASA, is published in the journal Science this week.
The time that scientists have used for their measurements is crucial, as performed at the time when the Sun evolved from a minimum of sunspot activity to a maximum. Against all expectations, the researchers found that the oblate shape of the Sun -with a wide equatorial diameter and a shorter distance between the poles, is surprisingly stable and hardly affected by the new cycle of activity and increased sunspot seen on its surface.
In addition, the flattened shape of the Sun is less pronounced than theory had predicted, according to pointed. Taken together, these findings shed new light on the internal structure of the Sun.