Powerful solar flares herald flip in sun’s magnetic field
2013-11-12 0:00

By Scott Sutherland | Geekquinox



The dramatic uptick in the number of solar flares over the past few weeks, especially the powerful X-class flares, is a good sign that the impending change in the sun’s magnetic field is drawing nearer.

Our sun is a variable star. While some variable stars swing through active and quiet periods very quickly or very haphazardly, our sun works on a fairly regular schedule lasting about 11 years or so. At times like now, when it’s reaching solar maximum, its surface is typically dotted with a multitude of sunspots and it’s throwing off solar flares and coronal mass ejections on nearly a daily basis, and at solar minimum its surface is very quiet.

This cycle is closely tied to the sun’s magnetic field, which changes polarity on roughly the same schedule. At solar minimums, the magnetic fields running through the sun are roughly lined up, with a strong, well-defined magnetic north pole and south pole. At solar maximums, like now, everything devolves into chaos as the overall magnetic polarity virtually disappears, causing the increase in solar flares and eruptions. The polarity doesn’t just go back to the same direction at each solar minimum though, it flips back and forth between one direction and the other.

When the sun reached its last maximum, in a twin-peak from 2001-2003, the magnetic field flipped so that it pointed ’downward’ — with the magnetic north pointing towards the sun’s physical south pole — and it apparently touched off a period of unusual activity. By the next solar minimum, around 2008, the magnetic field strength only grew to about half of what it was during the previous two minimums. Also, the latest ’ramp-up’ towards solar maximum started late, the number of sunspots and flares is roughly half of what it usually is, and we have an even more dramatic twin-peak maximum going on.

According to what Dr. Ken Tapping, from the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in Penticton, BC, told CBC News, this is causing some concern — not that any of this poses any particular danger to us here on Earth, but simply because it would be nice for the sun to settle back into its typical rhythms.

"Obviously, we would feel happier if we saw the sun doing business as usual, rather than heading off into some territory where we basically are not sure we understand what’s going to happen," he said in the CBC News interview.

[...]

Read the full article at: ca.news.yahoo.com



READ: NASA: The Sun’s Magnetic Field is about to Flip










Related Articles
Largest ever recorded solar flare in history - The "X-Whatever" mega flare
Increased solar activity continues with multiple M-class solar flares (Oct 24, 2013)
Huge X-class Solar Flares Keep Erupting from Sun: 4 in 48 Hours!
New Solar Flare Packs the Power of Millions of H-Bombs


Latest News from our Front Page

Worker fired over hospital's hardline vaccination policy
2015-08-04 20:55
Three others suspended under Waikato DHB’s new rule requiring staff to be vaccinated or wear a mask. One worker has now been sacked for defying a new hard-line policy forcing unvaccinated Waikato District Health Board staff to get flu jabs or wear masks. A number of staff at the DHB have come forward with concerns since the Weekend Herald revealed that three ...
Bulgaria keeps out migrants with a 50 mile razor wire fence along Turkish border
2015-08-04 20:27
Keep out: Police chief Ivan Stoyanov at the fenceStretching far into the horizon, this is the super-fence blocking thousands of migrants hoping for a new life in Europe. As police in Calais struggle to contain thousands trying to storm the Eurotunnel in their desperation to get into Britain, the Bulgarian authorities are shoring up their border with Turkey. The barriers around the ...
DF wants video to tell refugees to stay away
2015-08-04 20:59
 “If you want to seek happiness in Europe, Denmark is not the right place.”  That’s the message that the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party (DF) wants to send loud and clear to asylum seekers.   DF spokesman Martin Henriksen is calling on Denmark to replicate Australia by releasing a video in English and Arabic that will discourage asylum seekers from making their way ...
Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
2015-08-04 18:26
King Willem-Alexander delivered a message to the Dutch people from the government in a nationally televised address: the welfare state of the 20th century is gone. In its place a "participation society" is emerging, in which people must take responsibility for their own future and create their own social and financial safety nets, with less help from the national government. The ...
Why a Caucasian-Japanese is not Perceived as Japanese
2015-08-04 2:15
The Japan Times has a hilarious article about a White guy who is angry and upset at the horrible and racist world we live in because customs agents and border agents are questioning his "right to be Japanese." It's seems that Debito Arodou's experience at border crossings suggest that no one takes a White guy seriously, for claiming to be Japanese. Hmm, ...
More News »