Solar Oblateness May Provide New Insights

Posted by BC on October 5th, 2008

sunspots - Palmer   The Sun has been studied in many ways, and new information comes out of each study. The recent images from the Reuven Ramaty High-Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) have provided more than scientists imagined. RHESSI is an X-ray/Gamma ray telescope sent to study solar flares, but a team of scientists using the images has determined that the Sun is not a perfect sphere.

The images showed that the during an active period, the Sun has an appearance much like that of a cantaloupe with super-granulation causing a rough appearance to the visible surface. Super-granulation is what scientists say gives evidence of the activity closer to the solar core, and that activity gives a bulge to the Sun’s equator.

For more information on what the observed bulging answers, and exactly how the bulge was found, go to the NASA sight How Round is the Sun?

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