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Love big waves? Check out the Sun!

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Credit: NASA/SDO/Astrophysical Journal Letters via ScienceDaily

Ok so it may not be specifically ‘surf’ related news, but NASA has just discovered waves the size of the United States of America!

Admittedly the waves might be a little to hot to surf (and a bit big!) but if you’re at all interested in how the universe works then these truly god-sized waves are said to be the key to unlocking many mysteries.

Since Scientists know how waves work in the water, they are now attempting to apply this same knowledge to the sun’s waves in order to understand the corona and how it works.

The corona is the centre of the Sun and is thousands of times hotter than initially estimated, leaving many boffins puzzled as to why. They now hope to find the answers by studying these solar waves. At the moment they believe the friction created by the turbulence, which is created by the big waves, could help by adding heat and energy to the corona.

Translation: the froth atop a normal ocean wave causes friction, which in turn causes the wave to heat up. In the sea a surfer won’t notice this, as any heat created is quickly dispelled into the surrounding waters. However, on the sun this heat builds up and up, causing the corona to burn at temperatures no one ever imagined…

So surfer waves are created in the sun, as they are in water. The process is called a Kelvin-Helmholtz instability.

Well… That’s the theory anyway! I for one think it’s pretty cool, and demonstrates quite nicely that those waves we love so much are truly a part of the entire universe!

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