What’s new under the sun ?

“New under the Sun”, promises us this week the scientific weekly of reference Nature, whose cover is dedicated to our star, who seems to be in turmoil. This is a montage of some 150 photos of the Sun taken by theSolar Dynamics Observatory of the NASA between 2010 and 2020, i.e. during a complete solar cycle.

During the eleven years that a cycle lasts, the Sun undergoes major transformations, leading to the reversal of its magnetic poles: the north pole is found in the south, and vice versa. It is these changes in magnetic fields that cause the formation and movement of active sunspots.

In classic astrophysics models, the dynamics of the Sun, with oscillations between low and high activity, find their origins within the star itself. But Nature offers a scientific article written by mathematicians from different universities around the world who have developed another model, taking into account instability phenomena near the surface of the Sun.

Just two weeks ago, the skies offered a rare spectacle of the Northern Lights at latitudes where they don’t usually occur. Phenomena caused by an extraordinary solar storm which began at the level of an immense sunspot by “magnetized plasma eruptions – or coronal mass ejections – towards Earth, at speeds of up to 1,800 km/s”, described SO Nature in a general public article. This was just the beginning: peak solar activity is expected in a few months.

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