The Sun is proving some unusual behavior, researchers have claimed: it seems to be very quiet in comparison to its galactic fellows. A new study used data collected by Kepler Space Telescope to draw a comparison between the brightness of the Sun with other similar stars in the Universe.
As per the research, the Sun seems to be less active than all the other hundreds of similar stars, based on brightness changes. When compared to 369 solar-like stars, astronomers discovered that they usually ranged about five times stronger than the Sun throughout the last 140 years. Still, the team of researchers also analyzed over 2,500 stars similar to the Sun with unknown orbit periods, which showed that their glow changed a lot less.
“We were very surprised that most of the Sun-like stars are so much more active than the Sun,” said Dr.Alexander Shapiro, from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS).
Puzzling Behavior With No Explanation
Researchers reduced the first group of comparable objects from the large collection of measurement data recorded by NASA‘s Kepler Space Telescope, choosing stars with similar surface temperature, age, and orbit period.
The team chose to analyze stars that rotate once around their own axis throughout a period of 20 to 30 days, although it does not decide the orbit period of all the stars. Therefore, researchers had to take into consideration other elements such as re-appearing inflections in the star‘s lightcurve.
The new research enabled scientists to better understand the normality of the Sun’s behavior, but they are still not clear about why it is so unusual.
“It is conceivable that the Sun has been going through a quiet phase for thousands of years and that we, therefore, have a distorted picture of our star,” explained Dr. Timo Reinhold, first author of the new study, which was published in the Science journal.
The team of researchers notes that it is feasible that the Sun can have higher variability over long periods of time, or varies from similar stars in ways they haven’t yet understood.