Sun's constant size surprises scientists

( reports with subsequent comments)

The sun's disk showing active region 10486, which became the largest sunspot seen by SOHO, the satellite Dr. Kuhn and collaborators used to monitor the sun's diameter. Courtesy of SOHO/MDI consortium. A group of astronomers led by the University of Hawaii's Dr. Jeff Kuhn has found that in recent times the sun's size has been remarkably constant. Its diameter has changed by less than one part in a million over the last 12 years. “This constancy is baffling, given the violence of the changes we see every day on the sun's surface and the fluctuations that take place over an 11-year solar cycle,” commented Kuhn, the associate director of the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy (IfA) who is responsible for Haleakala Observatories. Kuhn's work is part of worldwide efforts to understand the influence of the sun on Earth's climate. “We can't predict the climate on Earth until we understand these changes on the sun,” he said. Kuhn and his colleagues used NASA's long-lived Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) satellite to monitor the sun's diameter, and they will

soon repeat the experiment with much greater accuracy using NASA's new Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which was launched on February 11. According to Kuhn, the ultimate solution to this puzzle will depend on probing the smallest observable scales of the solar surface using the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST), which is scheduled for completion on Haleakala in 2017. “To be able to predict what the sun will do, we need both the big picture and the details,” said Kuhn. “Just as powerful hurricanes on Earth start as a gentle breeze, the analogs of terrestrial storms on the sun start as small kinks in the sun's magnetic field.” Comments 1. There is one theory that the sun was originally a supernova. If this were true, it would have been a neutron star for some period of time. Then the neutrons would decay into hydrogen gas. The hydrogen gas would have started fusion. So maybe there is still a ball of neutrons at the center of the sun. This could explain the stable size as gases are expelled from the sun, the neutrons in the center would be constantly decaying into more hydrogen gas keeping the size relatively the same over a long period of time. 2. There is a tangible evidence of correlation of climatic cycles and periods of solar activity, as expressed by frequency of sunspots.

3. In my opinion it's generated by Coriolis force, which is switching circulation beneath surface of Sun. The direction of this force is driven by location of center of mass of whole solar system, although the eleven years long period of Jupiter planet is the most important there. Maybe ancient astrologers were quite right, while deriving the changes of climate and human psychics just from conjunctions of planets (wars for sources in particular).

4. This explanation has some logics in it, but neutrons are commonly decaying into electron antineutrinos - whereas the content of antineutrinos in solar neutrino flux is generally lower, then 5%. 5. If I remember well, some theories consider the Sun core composed of inert iron plasma, which could dilute and slow-down fusion inside it, too. 6. The most stable configuration would be a solid surface of some sort(iron, metal). That would lead to a different model of gravity but we know gravity has problems anyways. The sun would act as a cathode. Marathi song by Vasantrao Deshpande: "Tejonidhi lohagol, bhaaskar he gaganaraaj, divya tujhyaa tejaane jhagamagale bhuvan aaj; he dinamani vyomaraaj..." ...which translates as "O store of energy, ball of iron, O Sun, king of sky, the world scintillates with your powerful light. O gem of the day, king of brightness, ..." ** 7. If the diameter was to expand (or shrink) constantly by "one part in a million every 12 years" then in 12 million years, the total diameter would reach about ~272 percent (or just about ~36,8 percent) of what it is now, respectively. That would be quite a huge fluctuation for such a small time period, considering we are not nearing the end of Sols life. I believe the expectations on the lifespan of Sol (before it goes into "retirement") are a few orders of magnitude higher that that. Apart from the fact that it has some good 5Gy of duty on its shoulders allready, which most probably - at least in the beginnigs - were alot more "violent" than nowadays.

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