The core of the sun rotates four times faster than the material on its surface.

The image was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, which watches the sun at all times from its orbit in space. Credit: Credit: NASA/SDO

This new discovery has been made with the SOHO Space Telescope, which belongs to NASA and ESA.

The scientists have discovered a kind of wave movement formed within inside the sun, which occurs because of the sun’s gravity. By measuring how these gravity waves affect acoustic waves, the researchers precisely determined the time it takes an acoustic wave to travel from the surface to the center of the sun and back again.

That travel time turns out to be influenced a slight amount by the sloshing motion of the gravity waves.

The reason it rotates faster – they reason – is a residue from when the Sun was formed. Since then, the solar wind has slowed down the outer parts of the sun, but not the interior.

The idea that the solar core could be rotating more rapidly than the surface has been considered for more than 20 years, but has never before been measured.