Introduction to special issue

Perspectives in Helioseismology

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Science  31 May 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5266, pp. 1281-1283
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5266.1281


Helioseismology is probing the interior structure and dynamics of the sun with ever-increasing precision, providing a well-calibrated laboratory in which physical processes can be studied under conditions that are unattainable on Earth. Nearly 10 million resonant modes of oscillation are observable in the solar atmosphere, and their frequencies need to be known with great accuracy in order to gauge the sun's interior. The advent of nearly continuous imaged observations from the complementary ground-based Global Oscillation Network Group (GONG) observatories and the space-based Solar and Heliospheric Observatory instruments augurs a new era of discovery. The flow of early results from GONG resolves some issues and raises a number of theoretical questions whose answers are required for understanding how a seemingly ordinary star actually operates.