Our Sun’s 11-Year Magnetic Cycle Destined to Disappear

The Sun’s 11-year magnetic cycle appears to be ending, but that won’t happen anytime soon. In a paper submitted on May 26 to the journal Solar Physics, two solar scientists are reinterpreting earlier evidence to hypothesize that the Sun’s rotation rate and magnetic field are in a transitional phase that could lead to lengthening solar cycles, with the cycle ultimately disappearing altogether between 800 million and 2.4 billion years from now. Travis S. Metcalfe and Jennifer van Saders propose the scenario in their paper “Magnetic Evolution and the Disappearance of Sun-like Activity Cycles.”

“After decades of effort, the solar activity cycle is exceptionally well characterized, but it remains poorly understood,” the authors say in the paper’s abstract. “Pioneering work at the Mount Wilson Observatory demonstrated that other Sun-like stars also show regular activity cycles and suggested two possible relationships between the rotation rate and the length of the cycle. Neither of these relationships correctly describe the properties of the Sun, a peculiarity that demands explanation.”

via American Radio Relay League | Ham Radio Association and Resources http://ift.tt/2qL9GzM