Star to unlock Sun’s secrets
Its stellar cycle could be the key to understanding the Sun’s activity
A new study of a Sun-like star could give researchers an insight into the solar cycle, the poorly understood 11-year period during which the surface of our Sun alternates between high and low activity.
The key could lie with a star 120 lightyears away in Cygnus, which is a similar mass, size and age to our Sun, but is much richer in elements heavier than helium. Observations dating back to 1978 have shown the star has its own cycle, lasing 7.4 years and with double the variation in activity of the Sun. The heavy elements are thought to be responsible for the difference.
By studying the star further, researchers hope to better understand the motions of material and magnetic fields within stellar interiors that drive this cycle. Predicting the solar cycle is important as it can have an effect on Earth’s climate.
The greater activity on a Sun-like star could provide insights into the solar cycle of our star