Aug 3

NSO: The Sun’s Polar Magnetic Field will Soon Flip

A simplified graphic depicting Sun’s polar magnetic field lines. In a complex process, the Sun’s polar magnetic field reverses or flips approximately every 11 years following the solar cycle progressions. Credit: NSF/AURA/NSO.

The Sun is about to turn upside down – magnetically speaking, of course. 

In recent months, we’ve seen an uptick in explosive solar events from dramatic X-class flares to Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), to powerful geomagnetic storms and a record-shattering sunspot count in June. The Sun may appear to be a raging inferno to the general public, but to solar scientists, it’s business as usual. 

An active Sun was expected and these events are indications that the current Solar Cycle 25 is reaching its peak in activity, known as Solar Maximum. The Sun typically follows 11-year cycles bookended by periods of Maximum (high activity) and Minimum (low activity). When this cycle reaches Maximum, the Sun will begin to “quiet down” and decrease in activity as it transitions to Solar Minimum over the next decade. Once reached, Solar Cycle 26 will begin. 

Read more at NSO website