Solar Cycle

Solar Cycle

Context: The origin of the Sun’s magnetic field and solar cycles are being researched. A new study suggests that the Sun’s dynamo, the process generating the magnetic field, might be located much closer to the surface, in the star’s outermost layers.

Till now, it was believed that the Sun’s powerful magnetic field originated deep within the star.

Solar cycle

• Every 11 years, the sun’s magnetic field undergoes a cycle known as the solar cycle. The cycle is based on the sunspots, regions where the magnetic field is much higher than anywhere else on the Sun.
• Sunspots are few at the beginning of a solar cycle (solar minimum) and reach their highest in the middle of the cycle (solar maximum) before decreasing again.
• During sunspot maxima, polarity of the global magnetic field in the Sun’s polar regions is reversed.
• This cyclical pattern is known as a torsional oscillation, in which the solar rotation is periodically sped up or slowed down in certain latitude zones. While, the rotation remains essentially steady elsewhere.
• Previous models were unable to accurately predict whether the next solar cycle would be strong or weak.
• The new study’s model takes into account torsional oscillations to predict the solar cycles. 


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