Sun ‘flips upside down’ while reversing magnetic poles

AFP Photo / Handout / NASA / Solar Dynamics Observatory(SDO)

 

The sun has undergone a “complete field reversal,” with its north and south poles changing places as it marks the midpoint of Solar Cycle 24.

“A reversal of the sun’s magnetic field is, literally, a big event,” NASA’s Dr. Tony Phillips said in a statement issued on the space agency’s website.

“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,” Stanford solar physicist Phil Scherrer explained.

While it may seem like the event could have catastrophic repercussions for the galaxy, its effects are actually more subtle, mostly interfering with space exploration.

“Cosmic rays are a danger to astronauts and space probes, and some researchers say they might affect the cloudiness and climate of Earth,” said Phillips.

Both the aurora borealis and its southern counterpart – the australis – are set to become broader, more frequent, and more visible now that the event has reached its final stage.

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