NASA: Sun Undergoing Complete Field Reversal, Possibly Resulting In Stormy Space Weather Around Earth
Just when Earthlings were breathing a sigh of relief, comes word of another potential threat from Outer Space. From the latest National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) ScienceCast that was published on YouTube.com on August 5:
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. It looks like we’re no more than 3 to 4 months away from a complete field reversal, says solar physicist Todd Hoeksema of Stanford University. This change will have ripple effects throughout the Solar System.
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 reorganizes itself. The coming reversal marked midpoint of Solar Cycle 24. Half of solar max will be behind us, with half yet to come…
When solar physicists talk about solar field reversals, their conversations often focus 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…
During field reversals, the current sheet becomes very wavy… 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.
(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)
“ScienceCasts: The Sun’s Magnetic Field is About to Flip”
Jason Samenow discussed the potential for stormy space weather and disruption of electrical grids on Earth in the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang blog yesterday. The Capital Weather Gang’s chief meteorologist and Post Weather Editor warned:
Stormy space weather can lead to disruptions in high frequency radio and satellite communication, and – under extreme circumstances – the Earth’s electrical grid.
(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)
Now, some good news. Samenow added:
Interestingly, the observed (and/or predicted) maximum in the current sunspot cycle (number 24), is the smallest in over 100 years (since February, 1906) due to depressed sunspot activity.
Scientists aren’t sure why the sunspot activity in this cycle is so weak, but it’s an ongoing area of exploration.
Live long and prosper.
By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)
Samenow, Jason. “Reverse! Sun’s magnetic field on the brink of 180-degree flip.” Capital Weather Gang. 6 Aug. 2013. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2013/08/06/reverse-suns-magnetic-field-on-the-brink-of-180-degree-flip/). 7 Aug. 2013.
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