Mysterious ‘heartbeat-like’ radio signals discovered inside a solar flare

A group of researchers made a rather unusual discovery: a series of radio bursts was recorded five thousand kilometers above the surface of the Sun.

This time, researchers say the radio signals have a strange “heartbeat” pattern – coming from a source deep within the Sun’s atmosphere and scientists are still trying to figure out what could have caused it.

The first observations date back to 2017 – the data were collected by the EOVSA radio telescope located in California. It observes the Sun in the range of 1 to 18 gigahertz. The beeps were repeated every 10 to 20 seconds, which the research team likened to “heart rate”.

These pulses are known as quasi-periodic pulsations, QPP. Tracking its appearance, a team of astrophysicists unexpectedly discovered another source of signals. This time, the researchers were sure they were coming from deeper layers.

“The discovery is unexpected,” says Sijie Yu, an astronomer at the Solar-Terrestrial Research Center at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, in a university statement.

“This beating pattern is important for understanding how energy is released and dissipated in the Sun’s atmosphere during these incredibly powerful explosions on the Sun. However, the origin of these repeating patterns, also called quasi-periodic pulsations, has long been a mystery and a source of debate among solar physicists.”

Astrophysicists believe the discovery will help better understand the nature of flares and other aspects of activity on the Sun.

But what’s also interesting is that everything in the universe is very connected. Even the sun has a “heartbeat phenomenon”, similar to that of living organisms.



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