Plasma flow near the sun’s surface explains sunspots, other solar phenomena

The Next Grand Minimum

Understanding the previously mysterious properties of the sun.
Every 11 years or so, the Sun’s magnetic field completely flips. This means that the Sun’s north and south poles switch places. Then it takes about another 11 years for the Sun’s north and south poles to flip back again.

The solar cycle affects activity on the surface of the Sun, such as sunspots which are caused by the Sun’s magnetic fields. Until now, various theories have tracked sunspots, but unable to explain why the number of spots peaks every 11 years.

In an effort to understand it, scientists at the University of Washington have proposed a model of plasma motion to explain the 11-year sunspot cycle and several other previously mysterious properties of the Sun.

Scientists created this model by relying on their previous work with fusion energy research. The model demonstrates that a…

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