Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sun's Magnetic Field Almost Completely Reversed

Sun's magnetic fields
 Nov 12, 2013
By James A. Foley
The Sun's magnetic field is poised to completely flip, an event that happens every 11 years. Solar physicists began anticipating the reversal of polarity this summer, reporting in August that the reversal would be complete in the coming months. The polarity of the star's northern hemisphere already appears to have reversed and the southern hemisphere should be complete soon, scientists report.
"It's not a catastrophic event. It's a large-scale event that has some real implications, but it's not something you need to worry about," said Todd Hoeksema, a solar physicist at Stanford University's Wilcox Solar Observatory. "You've probably never even noticed it in the past. But technologically, we care more and more about it as time moves on."

While the internal mechanism that drives the switching of the magnetic field is not completely understood, researchers are able to identify the process as it occurs on the Sun's surface. Sunspots, areas of intense magnetic activity, appear as dark blotches on the surface of the Sun near its equator. Over about one month's time, the sunspots disintegrate and their magnetic activity migrates from the equator to one of the Sun's poles, eroding any existing and opposite polarity in its path, Hoeksema said in a news release. The magnetic field gradually recedes towards zero, then rebounds in the opposite polarity... the rest/image

Sun's Magnetic Field Expected to Flip Soon, Rare Solar Event That Occurs Every 11 Years 


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