The magnetic field of the sun

Here’s whats making the news from the past couple of days the NASA claims that  the sun’s magnetic field is about to reverse within the coming few days, now in order to know more about what exactly is going to happen and how we’ll have to know more about the magnetic field of the sun and how it is formed.

Now, the Solar Dynamo is physical process that generates the sun’s magnetic field. Just like other planetary bodies and stars the sun can be considered as a dipole. The complete reversal of this magnetic field can happen anytime now. Such reversals occur once every 11 years, this is called one solar cycle. These reversals occur due to the re-organizing of the sun’s inner dynamo and the movement of plasma through it. As quoted by Solar physicist Phil Scherrer,  “The sun’s polar magnetic fields weaken, go to zero, and then emerge again with the opposite polarity. This is a regular part of the solar cycle.” The changes in the polarity cause ripple effects that go way beyond Pluto and on the doorstep of interstellar.

Another reason for the cause of magnetic field in any body is due to motion of charged particles, the sun is made of positively charged ions and negatively charged electrons in a state of matter called plasma.

Magnificent CME Erupts on the Sun - August 31

Image via NASA Goddard Flight Center

Now the charged particles move in three ways due to suns high temperature and the movement of its axis viz:-

  1. The Sun’s high temperatures cause the positively charged ions and negatively charged electrons that make up its plasma to move around a lot. The moving plasma creates many complicated magnetic fields that twist and turn.
  2. The extremely hot plasma that blows off the Sun as the solar wind also causes a magnetic field.
  3. The plasma in the Sun also rotates around the Sun’s axis. The plasma near the poles rotates slower than the plasma at the equator causing twisting and stretching of magnetic fields, too.

The suns magnetic field is very strong and can influence particles way beyond the orbits of the known planets, and now this magnetic field is about to flip, while this is not a catastrophic event and won’t cause any such damage to our lives the reversal will have effects and the ripples will travel throughout the solar system.

Cheers…! 🙂


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