Magnetic flip of Sun may affect Earth’s climate

Screenshot_1The Sun’s magnetic field is expected to undergo a 180-degree flip in the coming 3 to 4 months as its magnetic north and south poles reverse positions.

How does this Magnetic Flip take place?

The outer layers of the Sun consist of a soup of charged particles whose steady motion influences the alignment of the Sun’s magnetic field.  There are two winds of such charged particles one moving east-west and the other north-south and these tug at each other to move the magnetic north and south poles of the Sun thus making them go a full circle once every 22 years. This period is called a solar cycle which results in reorientation of the solar dynamo and which is the source of the Sun’s magnetic field.

The magnetic field will flip half a circle in the coming months marking the end of 11 years of the 24th such cycle on record and once the second pole catches up, the next half of the cycle will start.

Effects of Magnetic Flip:
  • It could affect storms on Earth and even disrupt satellites.
  • During this flip, activity on the star’s surface intensifies, producing violent solar flares and coronal mass ejections.
  • A weak electric field that rises out of the Sun and pervades the Solar System experiences small disturbances. As the moving Earth dips in and out of this field, stormy space weather can be stirred up around Earth.
  • The Cosmic rays which are high energy particles accelerated to nearly light speed by supernova explosions and other violent events in the galaxy, could also be affected and thus influencing cloudiness and the climate on Earth.

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Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017

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