News / Science & Technology

Sun on Verge of Massive Flip

Solar activity is seen in a screenshot of a NASA video.Solar activity is seen in a screenshot of a NASA video.
Solar activity is seen in a screenshot of a NASA video.
Solar activity is seen in a screenshot of a NASA video.

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Our sun is about to make an enormous flip.

According to NASA, in about three to four months, the sun’s vast magnetic field will reverse itself in what solar physicist Todd Hoeksema of Stanford University says will “have ripple effects throughout the solar system."

But not to worry; scientists say this happens about every 11 years and most people may not even notice it.

The periodic switch in magnetic polarity comes at the peak of each solar cycle when “the sun's inner magnetic dynamo re-organizes itself,” Hoeksema explains. This latest flip will come in the midst of what solar physicists call Solar Cycle 24.

Solar physicist Phil Scherrer, also at Stanford, describes what happens: "The sun's polar magnetic fields weaken, go to zero, and then emerge again with the opposite polarity. This is a regular part of the solar cycle."

The effects of the changes extend throughout the sun’s magnetic influence, also known as the heliosphere. The heliosphere extends billions of kilometers beyond Pluto. 

On Earth, we may feel the effects of the flip in the form of “stormy space weather,” and possible changes in our own climate.

Here's a video about the upcoming switch:

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Comment Sorting
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
August 12, 2013 2:31 AM
Yea, I am sory but I do not understand most part of video narrations. What I noticed is that dark spots are also repeating waxing and wanning every eleven years. Are there any another natural phenomena cycling about every eleven or its multiple years?

by: Cranksy from: USA
August 07, 2013 1:24 PM
I think the video with this article is probably very good at explaining what it attempts to explain, although I don't know what in the heliosphere it is about. Is there anyone reading this who can give a coherent answer to a probably self-defeating question: where is the closes place to Chicago that a person can get a good view of the aurora borealis?

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