Sun Spins Round Again and Solves Part of Solar Problem

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Image Credit: Solar Orbiter/EUI Team/ESA & NASA; CSL, IAS, MPS, PMOD/WRC, ROB, UCL/MSSL)

An international team of astronomers has successfully implemented a model to solve part of the “solar problem.”

Everything was wrong with the Sun! A new set of data in the early 2000s reduced the number of chemicals in the solar system, contradicting the predicted levels of standard models used by astronomers. Often challenged, these new ones have succeeded in many new analyzes. Since they seemed correct, it was up to the solar models to adapt, primarily as they generally serve as an astronomical research indicator. A team of astronomers from UNIGE, in collaboration with Université de Liège, have developed a new theoretical model that solves part of the problem: by considering the solar cycle, which varies with time, and the magnetic field it produces, they have been able to explain the chemical composition of the Sun. The results of this study were published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

“The Sun is an astronomical star, so it is an important test of our understanding of stellar physics. We have a lot to measure its chemical composition, but also the dimensions of its internal structure, such as in the case of Earth because of earthquake science,” explains Patrick Eggenberger, a researcher in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Geneva, Switzerland (UNIGE) and first author of the study.

Normal solar model
“The typical solar model we use so far looks at our star in a much simpler way, on the one hand in terms of the transport of chemical elements in deeper layers, on the other hand in rotation and internal magnetic fields. completely ignored until now,” explains Gaël Buldgen, a researcher at UNIGE’s astronomical department and co-author of the study.

The new model and the critical role of rotation and magnetic fields
The new solar model developed by the UNIGE team includes the rotational rotation that may have been faster in the past and the magnetic field that creates it. “We need to consider both the effects of course and the magnetic field on the transport of chemical elements in our star models. It is as vital to the Sun as stellar physics in general and directly bears the chemical evolution of the Universe, as the essential elements of life on Earth are cooked in the center of the stars, “said Patrick Eggenberger.

The new model accurately predicts helium saturation in the outer layers of the Sun, but it also reflects that of the lithium-resistant model to date. “The new model properly reprograms the abundance of helium because the sun’s internal rotation by the magnetic field creates a turbulent mixture that prevents the substance from falling too quickly toward the center of the star; at the same time, the amount of lithium that is seen in the solar system is also reproduced because this same mixture takes it to tropical areas where it is destroyed,” explains Patrick Eggenberger.

A review of stars like the sun
“We will need to review the masses, the rays, and the age at which we have studied the solar system,” said Gaël Bulgin, describing the following steps. Indeed, solar physics is transferred to studies near the Sun in many cases. Therefore, if the solar analysis models were changed, this update should also be made for other stars like ours.

Patrick Eggenberger clarifies: “This is very important if we want to better represent the stars in charge of the planets, for example, within the framework of PLATO’s work.” This 24-telescope telescope must fly to the location of Lagrange 2 (1.5 million kilometers from Earth, about the Sun) by 2026 to detect and highlight the features of more minor planets and refine the features of the ruling star.

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