Scientists have solved the mystery of the cycles of the sun

News 13 July, 2017
  • AFP

    Thursday, 13 July, 2017 21:45

    Thursday, 13 July, 2017 21:45

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    Scientists have solved the mystery of the reversal every eleven years on average of the magnetic cycle of the sun, an advance with important applications to predict solar flares that can disrupt communications on Earth.

    This discovery, published Thursday in the american journal Science, outlines the existence of a powerful feedback loop between the sun’s magnetic field and the flow of conductive fluid, a movement of internal rotation.

    What are the variations of this rotation that determines the period of the cycle, researchers have found who have used a computer simulation in 3D of the interior of sun-like stars.

    In some cases, as for the sun, this magnetic field oscillates over a ten year period. Other stars have cycles magnetic from one to several tens of years.

    For the sun, the variation ranges from eight to fourteen years.

    Thanks to different programs of observation, the researchers now have information on the duration of the cycles, magnetic stars, solar-type, they often know the brightness with a good accuracy, in addition to their rotation and their magnetic cycle.

    “It has highlighted a fundamental mechanism that determines the length of the cycles, which will enable the long-term forecast on the cycle itself”, explains to the AFP, Antoine Strugarek of the university of Montreal, the principal author of this work.

    This new capability will be of interest to manufacturers and operators of satellites that will be able to better predict future solar flares, tip-t-it.

    “One may as well say if the next magnetic cycle of the sun by ten or twenty years will be intense, long, or short and this will help to know, among other things, what type of satellites may be on orbit and windows of fire the most favourable,” says the astrophysicist.

    These works have demonstrated that “the cycle of eleven years is the main wash of all solar-type stars”, says Allan Sacha Brun, head of the Laboratory Dynamics of Stars, of (Exo)planets and their Environment at the French Institute of research into the fundamental laws of the universe.

    The simulations of the magnetism of solar type stars, it should be possible to better exploit the scientific data collected during the future missions of the european space Agency (ESA): “Solar Orbiter”, an observation satellite of the sun, to be launched in 2018 and PLATO (Planetary Transits and Oscillations of stars) is expected to be deployed in 2024 for the hunt for exoplanets.