Solar Field Polarity Reversal
Like the magnetic field poles of the earth the sun’s magnetic field also experiences a complete magnetic polar reversal. However, unlike the earth’s magnetic field which experiences geomagnetic reversal every several million years and sometimes every 400 thousands years, the solar magnetic field polarity reversal occurs in shorter intervals of only 11 years. The solar field polarity reversals mark the official beginning of each solar phase–solar maxima and solar minima.
This means that the solar magnetic field’s north pole exchange place with its south pole and stays that way until the next solar phase, 11 yrs later.
A solar field polarity reversal is about to happen. Solar physicists estimate it to happen within the next 4 months, in 2013! This event will mark the peak of activity of the 24th solar phase, the solar maxima fo 2013–2024.
The solar magnetic field also behaves similar to earth’s magnetic field poles in the fact that the sun’s north magnetic field also goes on excursions, from time to time, during solar maxima. This is, of course, is not a complete magnetic polar reversal, but it means that the solar field goes down to zero latitude and then up again to its original position and does not complete an 180 degree shift. Magnetic solar field polar excursions is a temporary condition as well, and the field poles recovers to their original position after a short period of time, just as earth’s magnetic field poles do.
Solar field polarity affects the entire heliosphere environment. Studies are underway to determine what will accompany this next solar field reversal which will mark the true beginning and height of activity of the solar maxima phase of 2013.
The video below was produced by Science at NASA and explains this process in more detail:
CREDIY: NASA – Science at NASA