Winding Down

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Science  30 Sep 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5744, pp. 2133
DOI: 10.1126/science.309.5744.2133e

Low-mass stars like the Sun form with their surfaces rotating rapidly, but the rotation slows over time because of magnetic braking and momentum exchange that creates internal velocity gradients. Models of these velocity patterns are in conflict with helioseismology as well as with observations of the element lithium at the stellar surface. Charbonnel and Talon (p. 2189) report a model that correctly accounts for both the rotation patterns and lithium abundance in Sun-like stars. The best model incorporates internal gravity waves, much like those responsible for Earth's alternating easterly and westerly zonal winds called the quasibiennial oscillation.

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