Scientists have discovered a new connection between two mechanisms of changing the Sun’s magnetic field. It allowed us to refine the model of the Sun’s activity. According to it, the maximum of the current 25- cycle should occur next year.
Researchers from the Center of Excellence in Space Sciences in India published an article in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters on the mechanism of fluctuations in the magnetic fields of the Sun. It indicates that we can be very wrong about when to expect the greatest activity from our luminary.
The sun has an extremely powerful and dynamic magnetic field. The most noticeable manifestation of its activity are spots on the surface, near which flares usually occur. The latter generate flows of particles that can cause magnetic storms on Earth.
The mechanism of the occurrence of flares near sunspots has already been studied quite well. But scientists have no confidence about how to describe the behavior of the magnetic field of our luminary as a whole. It is believed that it is described by 11-year cycles, each of which has its minimum and maximum.
However, these conclusions are based on observations that have occurred since the middle of the 18th century, maximum since the beginning of the 17th century. And even during this period, the duration of the cycles fluctuated significantly. Accordingly, scientists can say very roughly when to expect the maximum activity of our luminary with its destructive flares.
When is the maximum expected
It is clearly established that the magnetic field of the Sun contains two main components. The first is convective flows of incandescent plasma, which directly affect the appearance of spots. The second is a dipole, very similar to the earth’s, with lines of force entering the poles. The difference from our planet is that on our star, the poles change about once every 11 years.
The connection between the two components was established in 1935 by the Swiss astronomer Max Waldmeier. In his opinion, the more intense the appearance of spots, the faster the cycle should go, and the maximum should start. Scientists have been guided by this rule until now, predicting when there will be the most flares.
In the new work, the Waldmeier rule was not abolished but only supplemented. Scientists could describe in much more detail the mechanism by which spots appear under the influence of the solar dynamo. However, this seriously affected the assessment of when to expect the maximum this time.
The 25th cycle has already brought scientists many surprises. It turned out to be more active than the previous few, and now they don’t completely know what to expect from it. At first, the maximum was predicted for 2025. This year, it has already been announced that it will be the end of 2025. In the new work, it is said that it may come as early as 2024, but it is indicated that this may happen only in the autumn.
According to phys.org
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