The observations showed a wide variety of structure and a lack of structure in the outer layers near the Sun’s equator. The results were confirmed by an analysis of data taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope that had been acquired during the same year as the recent paper, and are being released at a conference Thursday.
The latest results for the far side of the Sun were also announced at the conference, but since the images are not as good as the ones from Hubble, it is easier to judge the findings. Although there are still a few surprises in the data, one can say it has shown a long-term decline in the solar activity level that is consistent with the Sun’s long-term cycle and the long-term slowdown of the Sun’s spin rate. This would seem to indicate a slowdown, but that is not confirmed yet. It also suggests a short-term dip is the consequence of a cooling process or a magnetic reconnection event, a long-term decline.
A different model - “Neutron Stars”
Although the results from the recent study did not exactly repeat the results of previous studies, they did provide some preliminary confirmation. That model predicts that there would be similar changes, though the details and time span required for a complete reversal are different from Hubble, and hence, a new discovery might be on the horizon. Most of that process takes place at the star’s core, and the innermost core of a neutron star is known to be much cooler and denser than the atmosphere. If a massive star goes supernova, its core and atmosphere may be destroyed completely and the core is a black hole with a lot of energy that comes out at the surface. The process seems to be reversible, but its speed is extremely slow. For that reason, it is not a particularly popular model to try to explain the effects of high-energy bursts on our Sun or the solar environment. The new results provide a different model that could explain the change. Here’s the key thing about this scenario: The supernova (or some other event that creates an explosion at the surface of the black hole) is so intense that the light from it interacts with the material in the core - if the surface is heated to the temperature required by the supernova, then the material will vaporize. If that happens, the energy stored within the core will be released. That process could lead to a much larger and more violent result than what we see every day when we’re on the Sun. For years, astronomers have suspected that there are neutron stars at the core of the Sun. In 2006, a team led by Thomas P. Neukirch, the University of California, Santa Cruz, led by physicist Roger J. Koppl, investigated five stars. But they found that the core was far, far hotter than astronomers had previously thought. They also noticed that the black hole at the core was significantly smaller than could be attributed to just the black hole alone. It was the only way to explain the low density of the internal plasma, the size of the black hole, and the fact that Koppl and colleagues saw no evidence of a core in the outer layers of the star. Now, Koppl himself and other scientists have added to the growing puzzle by finding a large central neutron star in the outer regions of the Sun that is 100 million years older than the main star.
While the results are exciting, they’re hardly surprising. Neutron stars are thought to be the building blocks of stars, and they are often at the center of clusters and also within superclusters of other stars. Koppl and colleagues discovered these stars using the Solar System SSPACE (Solar System Pulsar Spectroscopic (SSP) and Magnetic (SMP)) network. The SSPACE network is the most accurate data set around the Sun that will provide direct measurements of the temperature (and other properties) of the outermost layers of the Sun. Koppl is a senior research associate at Caltech and is a contributor to SSPACE. The SSPACE team has also been using the NASA Hubble Space Telescope to get more detailed images of this supernova black hole to get a first-hand look at how it is changing in shape.
The team has been surprised and gratified that Koppl’s findings supported their idea that there are neutron stars in the inner solar volume, and that these are much more massive than the main stars. The team also found a ring-shaped structure across the sky where this black hole is situated. In fact, the SMP network has identified eight (! !) such rings around other stars. The SMP images, once again, allowed the scientists to find the outermost layer of the Sun, and they found that it is extremely hot and very dense. They also