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solar waves


Hello, it’s Ineke, Danielle and Eoghan here. The one thing we have in common is that we’re all looking for waves in the solar atmosphere. Sounds pretty weird, eh? Well, it isn’t really that crazy.

Inke, Danielle, Eoghan

The Earth’s atmosphere is full of waves. The movement of air in waves can produce spectacular clouds like these:


Ripples in the clouds


Sound, which is another form of wave, is something most of us live with every day. In fact, waves are everywhere and affect us in many ways, whether we are bobbing up and down in a boat on the sea or listening to some music.Music on scale


To create a wave you need a material or ‘medium’ for it to move through like water or air for example.


One reason we are interested in solar waves is that waves can carry tremendous amounts of energy (ever been knocked over by a wave in the sea?) and we are searching for solar waves which might carry enough energy into the solar atmosphere to help explain why the solar corona is so hot.


The sort of waves we are studying are vibrations or oscillations that move through some material, which we call a medium. As the wave travels, each part of the medium wiggles in turn.


An excellent example of this is a Mexican wave at a football match. As the wave travels around the football ground, each spectator stays in the same seat, but moves up and down when it is their turn to do so. An important thing to notice is that the spectators are still in the same seat when the wave has passed!




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