In publica commoda

Long-period oscillations control the Sun’s differential rotation

No. 5.3 - 02.04.2024

Oscillations provide a feedback mechanism that limits the Sun’s pole-to-equator differential rotation


The interior of the Sun does not rotate at the same rate at all latitudes. The physical origin of this differential rotation is not fully understood. A team of scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany has made a ground-breaking discovery. As the team reports today in the journal Science Advances, the long-period solar oscillations discovered by MPS scientists in 2021 play a crucial role in controlling the Sun’s rotational pattern.


The long-period oscillations are analogous to the baroclinically unstable waves in Earth’s atmosphere that shape the weather. In the Sun, these oscillations carry heat from the slightly hotter poles to the slightly cooler equator. To obtain their new results, the scientists interpreted observations from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory using cutting-edge numerical simulations of the solar interior. They found that the difference in temperature between the poles and the equator is about seven degrees.


To read the press release of MPS please click here.