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Vary, Vary, Little Star…Or Don’t, If You’re the Sun

24 Dec 2018, 21:16 UTC
Vary, Vary, Little Star…Or Don’t, If You’re the Sun
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Title: From Solar to Stellar Brightness Variations: The Effect of MetallicityAuthors: V. Witzke, A. I. Shapiro, S. K. Solanki, N. A. Krivova, & W. SchmutzFirst Author’s Institution: Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Göttingen, GermanyStatus: Published in Astronomy & Astrophysics [open access]Have you stopped to ponder lately about just how incredibly stable our Sun is? Sure, it occasionally lets off powerful flares that can cause problems for us here on Earth, but compared to most other stars out there our Sun’s average energy output is remarkably—even anomalously—constant. A Sun that varied in brightness by even just a few percent over the years could have significant, potentially disastrous consequences on our climate or ability to grow crops. My previous post on Thanksgiving ended up with a title sounding like a leftover from Halloween, so it’s only fitting that my Christmas Eve post touches on being thankful for the extreme stability of our Sun. Today’s paper sheds some light on the Sun’s stability by using simulations to investigate the effects of changing various parameters in Sun-like stars.Before we begin, it’ll be helpful to go over some background material. Many stars, including our Sun, go through a magnetic cycle. For our Sun ...

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