The heart of the Sun? Scientists show that the star has a heartbeat

Remarkable: Every 10 to 20 seconds, the Sun emits signals similar to heartbeats. The curious pattern was studied by scientists, indicating its origin.

According to astronomer Sijie Yu and his colleagues, in an analysis published in nature magazine, the source of these heartbeats is a C-class solar flare, located almost 5 thousand kilometers above the star’s surface.

They are “intense bursts of radio waves in a C-class solar flare, a strong burst of electromagnetic radiation,” the researchers say.

Sijie Yu notes in a statement: “The discovery is unexpected. This pattern of heartbeats is important for understanding how energy is released and dissipated in the Sun’s atmosphere during these incredibly powerful explosions.”

“However”, stresses the researcher, “the origin of these repetitive patterns, also called quasi-periodic pulsations, has long been a mystery and a source of debate among solar physicists”.

This is how they came to determine the heartbeat of the Sun

The researchers worked with a solar flare event that occurred on July 13, 2017, captured by the NJIT radio telescope, which is located at the Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO) near Big Pine, California.

The team focused on solar radio bursts, which are often associated with solar flares and are known to present repetitively patterned signals.

The researchers revealed radio bursts with a signal pattern that repeats every 10-20 seconds. These are the famous heartbeats of the Sun.

“It is likely that the signals originate from quasi-repetitive magnetic reconnections in the flare current sheet,” Yu explained. “This is the first time that a quasi-periodic radio signal located in the reconnection region has been detected. This detection can help us determine which of the two sources caused the other.”

The study findings shed new light (pun intended) on an important phenomenon underlying the reconnection process that drives these explosive events.