By Yara Del Rio-Dominguez |Staff Writer|
Solar activity is at an all time low for this time of year.
The sun seems to be producing only half the number of sunspots, its magnetic poles are oddly out of place, and it’s also going through the oddest reverse cycles, according to Robert Holtz writer for the Wall Street Journal.
The sun is going through an odd, reverse cycle where its polarity is distorted.
During the magnetic-field reversal the sun’s polarity switches to an opposite magnetic polarity.
The sun is currently at the same magnetic polarity as the South Pole.
CSUSB professor Karen Kolehmainen said, “I’ve heard a few reports about the number of sunspots being slightly less than normal during this cycle, but my impression is that it’s not as weird.”
When the sun isn’t active its magnetic field is similar to ours but then can change as it becomes hyperactive and this is completely normal activity for the sun, explained CSUSB professor Carol Hood.
“Because the sun is a big ball of gas it rotates really fast, its magnetic field lines can get twisted up throughout the time and where its magnetic field lines intertwine with one another is where the sunspots occur,” said
Scientists can not tell if this is temporary or if the sun is simply returning to a relaxing state, since the sun has been hyperactive since the 1940s.
Historical records indicate that this fall the sun should be about ready to climax into its 11-year cycle of activity but scientists see don’t see that happening.
According to World Nature News, all the research conducted scientist have concluded that the sun may just be returning to its normal state. It isn’t that the sun is producing less sun spots for this time of year, only that the sun seems to only have fewer active sunspots.
As the sunspots are erupting they release particles and radiation out into space which can sometimes interfere with our electronic devices here on earth.
This is not the first time this has happened according to Hood, “The last time there was a big disruption in the late 90s, half of the eastern sea ports lost power [because] it caused a huge blackout.”
The few active sunspots are erupting and have disrupted high-tech electronics all around the world. The storm disabled a Japanese satellite, disrupted gas & oil drilling in Alaska, and triggered a radio blackout one early morning on the east coast this November.
The sun not producing active sunspots is not as bad as it may sound. Since the sun isn’t producing a grand amount of sunspots, the earths’ outer layer will cool, weakening the greenhouse gases and also reducing the amount of radiation greenhouse gases are omitting.
Student Crystal Quintana said, “The sun’s lower hyperactivity doesn’t sound like its a good thing but it is slowing down global warming to a certain extent, so it couldn’t be that bad.”
Although this subtle change in the suns’ solar activity may not be what it was 200 years ago, it has been expected and gives scientist the opportunity to continue researching the sun’s solar activity to help predict future electronic distruption.