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Helioseismology studies the wave oscillations in the Sun. This is like the study of seismic waves on Earth.

These waves are affected by the temperature of the Sun and the deep motions inside the Sun.

Scientists observe these waves at the Sun's surface. Since the waves are created deep inside the Sun, scientists use these waves to understand the Sun's interior. That is why helioseismology is called a diagnostic.

We can see similar waves in other stars too.

60 foot tower at Mt. Wilson Observatory where helioseismology work began in the 1960's
Click on image for full size (26K JPEG)
Image courtesy of University of Southern California, 60 Foot Solar Tower at Mt. Wilson Observatory.

A computer-generated image of a wave moving through the interior of the Sun.

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Movie: Journey Beneath a Sunspot

Last modified January 12, 2010 by Randy Russell.

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