Scientists have detected a mysterious ‘heartbeat’- like signal from our sun that repeats every 10 to 20 seconds.
The bizarre pattern was pinpointed to a C-class solar flare located 3,106 miles above the star’s surface.
These pulses, known as quasi-periodic pulsations (QPP), have long been a mystery and a source of debate among solar physicists.
The team, led by the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), said uncovering the source of the heartbeat – the solar flare – could help scientists better understand how disastrous solar storms are released.
Co-author Sijie Yu, an astronomer affiliated with NJIT, said in a statement: ‘The discovery is unexpected.
‘This beating pattern is important for understanding how energy is released and is dissipated in the Sun’s atmosphere during these incredibly powerful explosions on the sun.’
Solar radio bursts are intense bursts of radio waves from the sun, which are often associated with solar flares and have been known to feature signals with repeating patterns.
The team determined the source of the heartbeat after analyzing microwave observations of a solar flare event on July 13, 2017, captured by NJIT’s radio telescope called the Expanded Owens Valley Solar Array (EOVSA).
These observations showed a repeating signal pattern, which leading author Yuankun Kou, a Ph.D. student at Nanjing University (NJU) likened to a heartbeat.
The team identified a QPP signal at the base of the electric current sheet stretching more than 15,534 miles through the eruption’s core flaring region where opposing approach each other, break and reconnect, generating intense energy powering the flare.