The detection of Rossby-like waves on the Sun

Rossby waves are a type of global-scale wave that develops in planetary atmospheres, driven by the planet’s rotation. They propagate westward owing to the Coriolis force, and their characterization enables more precise forecasting of weather on Earth. Despite the massive reservoir of rotational energy available in the Sun’s interior and decades of observational investigation, their solar analogue defies unambiguous identification. Here we analyse a combined set of images obtained by the Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) and the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft between 2011 and 2013 in order to follow the evolution of small bright features, called brightpoints, which are tracers of rotationally driven large-scale convection.

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