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Helioseismology and Solar Physics

Helioseismology Tours
Helioseismology is a fancy way of saying that we can learn about the Sun by "listening" to it. Astonomers listen to the Sun's heartbeat to learn about the inside of the Sun, just like seismologists learn about the interior of the Earth by "listening" to earthquakes. (But for helioseismologists their job is a lot tougher: like figuring out how a piano is made by listening to it fall down the stairs!)
solar modes

What is helioseismology?

"Helioseismology utilizes waves that propagate throughout the Sun to measure the invisible internal structure and dynamics of a star." This overview gives a summary of what helioseismology is and how it is done. By Dave Armet (GONG)

model of convection inside
   the Sun A Glimpse Inside the Sun
A review in Nature of Jack Zirker's excellent book "Sunquakes: Probing the Interior of the Sun." By Jorgen Christensen-Dalsgaard
solar sound wave Song of the Sun
"The Sun is playing a secret melody, hidden inside itself, that produces a widespread throbbing motion of its surface. The sounds are coursing through the Sun's interior, causing the entire globe, or parts of it, to move in and out, slowly and rhythmically like the regular rise and fall of tides in a bay or of a beating heart." (Quote by Kenneth R. Lang)
   banner Solar Physics
Information about the Solar Physics Branch of Marshall Space Flight Center's Space Sciences Laboratory. Includes pointers to areas of solar research, to solar-related missions, and various solar physics research projects.
Solar Activity Predictions
Have you ever wanted to be a Sun "weather announcer?" To predict solar activity you'll need to know some physics. Peruse this site for techniques on long-term activity forecasts as well as pointers to other sites which try to predict activity.

Image Credits:

  • Sun with bell icon by Amara Graps.
  • Solar oscillation modes image copyright NOAO/AURA/NSF; reproduction allowed for educational purposes.
  • Simulation of turbulent convection mirroring the Sun's surface, from review of Zirker book.
  • H-alpha image of solar prominence, shown in blue, *****
  • Song of the Sun waveform by Amara Graps.
  • Solar dynamo diagram by Ken Schatten.
  • Spacecraft from Marshall Space Flight Center homepage
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