Are There Any Changes In The Near-Surface Shear Layer Of The Sun? (Planetary Science)

A team of international astronomers using helioseismic data determine whether there are changes in the near-surface shear layer (NSSL). They found that the near-surface shear layer is deeper at lower latitudes than at high latitudes and that the extent of the layer also showed a small solar-cycle related change. Their study recently appeared in Arxiv.

Helioseismology has answered many puzzling questions about the Sun while raising many questions about our nearest star at the same time. One of the crucial observations that helioseismology has made was the existence of the near-surface shear layer (NSSL).  The NSSL is the region very close to the visible solar surface, where there is a change in the rotation profile of the Sun. The understanding of NSSL is crucial for the Sun, but it will also help us understand the other stars.

Now, Antia and Sarbani Basu using helioseismic data determine whether there are changes in the near-surface shear layer (NSSL).

They examined this by determining the radial gradient of the solar rotation rate. The radial gradient itself shows a solar-cycle dependence, and the changes are more pronounced in the active latitudes than at adjoining higher latitudes; results at the highest latitudes (greater than about 70°) are unreliable. The pattern changes with depth, even within the NSSL.

It has been found that the near-surface shear layer is deeper at lower latitudes than at high latitudes and that the extent of the layer also shows a small solar-cycle related change.


Reference: H.M.Antia, Sarbani Basu, “Changes in the near-surface shear layer of the Sun”, Arxiv, 2021. https://arxiv.org/abs/2110.13952


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