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The Sun’s Magnetic Flip


Image source: www.images.google.com

You may have received warnings of upcoming changes in weather, or even noticed recent irregularities yourself over the last few days. Such has been made noticeable with severe storms, which in parts of the U.S. last night were marked by incessant pulsations of lightening, the sky intermittently flushed with white and brilliant shades of blue. If so, don’t panic. This is normal and may be the mere result of the sun’s ever-progressing reversal in magnetism.

Every 11 years, there comes a peak in the solar cycle. This peak is known as the sun spot cycle, which results in the reversal of the sun’s magnetic field. Each time a sun spot cycle completes itself, poles reverse, with North becoming South and vice versa.

The duration of solar cycle is 22 years long and differs from the 11-year sun spot cycle, though the latter is sometimes referred to by the same name. Though they are separate, the sun spot cycle is a symptom of the longer solar cycle. And while a single sun spot cycle usually lasts 11 years, it can be as short a 8 year and span as long as 14 years in duration.

The sun is currently reaching its solar maximum, possibly peaking in 2013 to mid 2014. During solar maximum, many more sun spots are visible, with flares and coronal mass ejections becoming more frequent and intense. It will likely reach the solar minimum around 2020. At solar minimum, there are little to no viewable sun spots.

The current sun spot cycle has progressed at a slower rate than usual, with the South Pole lagging behind the North. This has caused some to believe the next solar cycle will produce minimum solar spots, even during the sun’s solar maximum.


Image source: www.images.google.com

According to Todd Hoeksema, director of Sanford University’s Wilcox Solar Observatory,

“It looks like we’re no more than three of four months from a complete field reversal.”

He went further to say the change would:

“have ripple effects throughout the solar system.”

But the change in the magnetic field may actually benefit earth. As this shift creates a wavy surface, earth will begin to dip in and out of the waves, providing extra protection from cosmic rays. So, despite increased weather intensity, there is little to fret about.


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