While the Sun is our daily source of energy and fuel for all life forms, it can also be extremely dangerous if we get too close to it. But luckily for us, humanity had developed over the centuries the right tools for exploring how our star works, and it keeps getting new relevant and thrilling info.
Even if the world revolves around the Sun, literally speaking, our star is actually much less active than other stars of its kind. This is what a new study led by Timo Reinhold suggests, whether we like it or not. Reinhold is an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany.
369 stars examined
The researchers had been examining the size, rotation and surface temperature of 369 stars, including our Sun. The outcome was shocking: in general, the other stars had five times more variability in the brightness than our Sun. The author of the study, Mr. Reinhold, confirmed that the results were unexpected:
“A direct measure of solar activity is the number of sunspots on the surface,”
“Finding such stars with very similar parameters as our sun but being five times more variable was surprising.”
If you doubt the reliability of the new findings, you should bear in mind that the data on the similar stars was compared to historical records of the activity of the Sun. These records included about 4 centuries of data gathered for the sunspots.
But should we be worried about the outcome of the new study? The best and only answer is ‘NO’, unless you’re planning by any chance to live for another 5 billion years until the Sun will turn off its lights for good. That’s the amount of time needed for our star to consume all of its fuel, the hydrogen that fuses into helium.
The results of the study were published in the Science magazine.