sun core
When a star runs out of Hydrogen gas, it dies and succumbs to its own gravity. Stars, like our sun, die and form white dwarfs. NASA

Scientists have uncovered key information about the sun’s core after more than 40 years studying it. The core was previously thought to spin at the same speed as the surface of the giant star but new findings reveal that it’s actually spinning almost four times as fast.

New research published in the Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics gives insight into what the sun might have been like when it first formed.

In addition to revealing what the sun was like in its earliest days, the research also might reveal how the sun formed. “It’s a surprise, and exciting to think we might have uncovered a relic of what the sun was like when it first formed,” Roger Ulrich, a University of California Los Angeles astronomy professor who co-authored the study told UCLA.

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Ulrich and the other researchers involved looked at more than 16 years worth of data from a Global Oscillations at Low Frequency instrument positioned on NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory called SOHO. The researchers tracked the movement of the low-frequency waves also called g-modes throughout the sun to gain insight into the movement of the core.

Researchers have been searching for the presence of gravity waves in the sun for more than 40 years, but the problem was always that the waves left no trace on the surface of the sun so they were difficult to find. Pressure waves or sound waves also called p-modes, on the other hand are easy to detect because they leave a trace but they provide no information about the sun’s core, according to NASA.

After examining the data from the last 16 years researchers were able to find a regular imprint of g-modes by using data on the p-modes and how they traveled around the core of the sun. Those p-modes sometimes travel all the way through to the sun’s core and when they do they interact with the g-modes there. The researchers measured the time it takes for the p-mode to travel to the core and back and found that the amount of time it takes is influenced by interaction with the g-modes.

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All of this confirms 40 years of research and a 20 year old idea that had never before been tested. The new findings gives insight into the early days of the sun and might help researchers uncover other mysteries about our star. While the research gives researchers a wealth of new information it also raises new questions like how the different layers of the sun interact and what the core of the sun is possible made up of, according to NASA.