Solar differential rotation

Internal rotation of the Sun

Picture: NSF's National Solar Observatory
Differential rotation from theory
The Sun rotates differentially. Its poles rotate only three times while its equator rotates four times. Helioseismology has shown that this effect is present in the whole convection zone but not in the radiative core. The left picture shows the rotation rate as a function of the (fractional) radius at different latitudes for the convection zone and the outer core. The right picture shows the rotation profile of the convection zone as predicted by theory.

Internal rotation of the Sun: Theory

merdional flow  
differential rotation
The meridional flow and the rotation profile as predicted by theory. The left picture shows the meridional flow. Red lines denote clockwise and blue lines counter-clockwise flow. The surface flow is directed towards the poles while the gas moves towards the equator at the bottom of the convection zone. The right plot shows the variation of the rotation rate throughout the convection zone.

Last change: February 2007 by Manfred Küker