Through the solar particles, magnetic fields swarm, solar flares erupt and gigantic columns of material rise, fall and jostle around each other. Scientists used NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) to measure the more accurate size of the corona.

"We have tracked sound-like waves through the outer corona and used these to map the atmosphere," said Craig DeForest of Southwest Research Institute in US.

"We cannot hear the sounds directly through the vacuum of space, but with careful analysis we can see them rippling through the corona," DeForest added.

Solar Probe Plus mission is due to launch in 2018. The mission will try to go closer to the sun than any man-made technology ever has before. These stereo observations provide the first direct measurements of the inner boundary of the heliosphere - the giant bubble filled with solar particles that surrounds the sun and all the planets.

The researchers studied Alfven waves or magneto sonic waves, a hybrid of sound waves and magnetic waves which oscillate about once every four hours and are about 10 times the length of earth.

The results appeared in the Astrophysical Journal.


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