The Sun’s Magnetic Field is about to Flip  

Something big is about to happen on the sun.  According to measurements from NASA-supported observatories, the sun’s vast magnetic field is about to flip.
The sun’s magnetic field changes polarity approximately every 11 years.  It happens at the peak of each solar cycle as the sun’s inner magnetic dynamo re-organizes itself.  The coming reversal will mark the midpoint of Solar Cycle 24. Half of “solar max” will be behind us, with half yet to come.
A reversal of the sun’s magnetic field is, literally, a big event. The domain of the sun’s magnetic influence (also known as the “heliosphere”) extends billions of kilometers beyond Pluto. Changes to the field’s polarity ripple all the way out to the Voyager probes, on the doorstep of interstellar space.
When solar physicists talk about solar field reversals, their conversation often centers on the “current sheet.”  The current sheet is a sprawling surface jutting outward from the sun’s equator where the sun’s slowly rotating magnetic field induces an electrical current.  The current itself is small, only one ten-billionth of an amp per square meter (0.0000000001 amps/m2), but there’s a lot of it: the amperage flows through a region 10,000 km thick and billions of kilometers wide.  Electrically speaking, the entire heliosphere is organized around this enormous sheet.
During field reversals, the current sheet becomes very wavy. Scherrer likens the undulations to the seams on a baseball.  As Earth orbits the sun, we dip in and out of the current sheet. Transitions from one side to another can stir up stormy space weather around our planet.
Cosmic rays are also affected. These are high-energy particles accelerated to nearly light speed by supernova explosions and other violent events in the galaxy.  Cosmic rays are a danger to astronauts and space probes, and some researchers say they might affect the cloudiness and climate of Earth. The current sheet acts as a barrier to cosmic rays, deflecting them as they attempt to penetrate the inner solar system. A wavy, crinkly sheet acts as a better shield against these energetic particles from deep space.
Full Article
Science@NASA


Credit: Dr. Tony Phillips/NASA

The Sun’s Magnetic Field is about to Flip

Something big is about to happen on the sun.  According to measurements from NASA-supported observatories, the sun’s vast magnetic field is about to flip.

The sun’s magnetic field changes polarity approximately every 11 years.  It happens at the peak of each solar cycle as the sun’s inner magnetic dynamo re-organizes itself.  The coming reversal will mark the midpoint of Solar Cycle 24. Half of “solar max” will be behind us, with half yet to come.

A reversal of the sun’s magnetic field is, literally, a big event. The domain of the sun’s magnetic influence (also known as the “heliosphere”) extends billions of kilometers beyond Pluto. Changes to the field’s polarity ripple all the way out to the Voyager probes, on the doorstep of interstellar space.

When solar physicists talk about solar field reversals, their conversation often centers on the “current sheet.”  The current sheet is a sprawling surface jutting outward from the sun’s equator where the sun’s slowly rotating magnetic field induces an electrical current.  The current itself is small, only one ten-billionth of an amp per square meter (0.0000000001 amps/m2), but there’s a lot of it: the amperage flows through a region 10,000 km thick and billions of kilometers wide.  Electrically speaking, the entire heliosphere is organized around this enormous sheet.

During field reversals, the current sheet becomes very wavy. Scherrer likens the undulations to the seams on a baseball.  As Earth orbits the sun, we dip in and out of the current sheet. Transitions from one side to another can stir up stormy space weather around our planet.

Cosmic rays are also affected. These are high-energy particles accelerated to nearly light speed by supernova explosions and other violent events in the galaxy.  Cosmic rays are a danger to astronauts and space probes, and some researchers say they might affect the cloudiness and climate of Earth. The current sheet acts as a barrier to cosmic rays, deflecting them as they attempt to penetrate the inner solar system. A wavy, crinkly sheet acts as a better shield against these energetic particles from deep space.

Full Article


Science@NASA

Credit: Dr. Tony Phillips/NASA


Posted 8 months ago with 350 notes
Tagged:sunheliosphereHeliophysicsmagnetic fieldNASAscienceAstronomyspacesun gif

  1. lslipknot reblogged this from spaceplasma
  2. world-my-mind reblogged this from spaceplasma and added:
    get hot, just like the sun ;)
  3. askelastic reblogged this from spaceplasma
  4. tigrtod reblogged this from spaceplasma
  5. cloudhopperworld reblogged this from stardust-to-stardust
  6. ja7sh reblogged this from spaceplasma
  7. stormfromthenether reblogged this from thepandanotes
  8. thepandanotes reblogged this from spaceplasma
  9. njzk reblogged this from spaceplasma
  10. impededstream reblogged this from we-are-star-stuff and added:
    The sun is a mass of incandescent gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace, where hydrogen is built into helium at a temperature...
  11. xbboardin reblogged this from spaceplasma and added:
    Yup
  12. bruxistbodhisattva reblogged this from spaceplasma
  13. nailpit reblogged this from spaceplasma
  14. experiencinghumanity reblogged this from spaceplasma
  15. cornwallismcgillicuddy reblogged this from xialed
  16. alright-angel reblogged this from spaceplasma
  17. kotitsuchiya reblogged this from thepunkrockgatsby
  18. thepunkrockgatsby reblogged this from vulcanistos
  19. vulcanistos reblogged this from we-are-star-stuff
  20. xialed reblogged this from spaceplasma
  21. cyfrus reblogged this from spaceplasma
  22. cate-enslin reblogged this from spaceplasma
  23. kamikazekricket reblogged this from spaceplasma
  24. aliaena reblogged this from spaceplasma
  25. thescienceofficer reblogged this from spaceplasma
  26. utalitarianbelladonna reblogged this from spaceplasma
  27. left-ear reblogged this from smokingwithaliens
  28. myrandomones reblogged this from spaceplasma
  29. ci-ga-rettes-and-sad-ness reblogged this from jimswhorehouse
  30. weepingcluedoassbutt reblogged this from spaceplasma
  31. scriptizar reblogged this from luchese
  32. nokatno reblogged this from we-are-star-stuff
  33. auguris reblogged this from we-are-star-stuff
  34. smokingwithaliens reblogged this from cheyenne-420
  35. cheyenne-420 reblogged this from day--and--age