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The Sun's magnetic field is expected to flip upside down within weeks as its north and south poles swap sides.The phenomenon, which will send "ripple effects" throughout the solar system, happens once every 11 years as the solar cycle reaches its peak.It will be observed throughout the heliosphere - the vast region of space affected by the Sun's magnetic field, which extends billions of miles beyond Pluto.The swap could cause intergalactic weather events such as geomagnetic storms, which can cause radio blackouts and interfere with satellites.The heightened solar activity it coincides with is also expected to give stargazers a better glimpse of the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights.Todd Hoeksema, a scientist at Stanford University's Wilcox Solar Observatory, said the polar reversal takes place as the Sun's magnetic field moves north or south from the equator, eroding the existing pole as it does so."It's kind of like a tide coming in or going out," he said. "Each little wave brings a little more water in, and eventually you get to the full reversal."Latest measurements show the Sun technically has two south poles, caused by its two hemispheres being out of sync.Phil Scherrer, who works with Mr Hoeksema at the observatory, said: "The north pole has already changed sign, while the south pole is racing to catch up."Soon, however, both poles will be reversed, and the second half of solar max will be under way."Mr Hoeksema said in early August that a "complete field reversal" looked like being "no more than three to four months away".Instruments at the solar observatory near San Francisco have been staring at the Sun for nearly 40 years and record its magnetic field every day.
Quite frankly, I never heard of the event. And if it is something that happenes every 11 years as the story says that means in has happened 5 times in my life time - without notice, and no effect on the solor system.
You also remember that the Earth's magnetic poles also flips. There some scientists believe that the magnetic flipping is starting. The Earths magnetic field has lost 10 percent of its strength.
Yep - every 300,000 years or so.
So we are in the time frame of another flip
Everybody alive thinks they are living in a paradigm shift of sorts....whether it's political or environmental.A shift of the poles should certainly mean global earthquakes of biblical proportions where entire continents may disappear under the seas....and new ones born.God's way of flushing the toilet.The 'trick' is to find a place where it might give you the best chance of being the 'new' world's caveman.
We really do not know what to expect. The last time this was experienced was when our ancestors were barely climbing out of the trees. And you are correct that this will have a direct effect of our standard of living and may throw us back to the stone age . We are seeing some chinks in the armor. The South Atlantic Anomaly is a place where the the Earths magnetic density is at its lowest. In the 1960s we tested under Project Argus what would an atmosphereic nuclear weapon might do at this area
Won't be quite that bad. We have a reasonable idea that the continents will stay intact. They have done the last few times. Might be an idea to stay indoors under a slate or metal roof though. The weaker the magnetic field gets, the more charged particles get through. Normally it wouldn't matter, but if we happen to get a jackpot year - both sets of poles flipping at the same time - it could cause huge problems.
The threat of an increase in charged particles, including cosmic rays, is probably one of the more significant risks. Even now, "[a]irline crews flying long distance high-altitude routes can be exposed to 2.2 mSv of extra radiation each year due to cosmic rays, nearly doubling their total ionizing radiation exposure." Wikipedia.
Charged particles, huh?That makes it sound as though the sun is an electrical phenomenon...
Huh?? You do know where cosmic rays come from, don't you? And you do realize that the comment was made in the context of the Earth's magnetic field, not the Sun's magnetic field, don't you?
The threat of an increase in charged particles, including cosmic rays, is probably one of the more significant risks. Even now, "[a]irline crews flying long distance high-altitude routes can be exposed to 2.2 mSv of extra radiation each year due to cosmic rays, nearly doubling their total ionizing radiation exposure." Wikipedia. Even the temporary loss of Earth's magnetic field would dramatically increase the amount of radiation everyone - other than perhaps miners deep underground - absorbs.
The last time it flipped 300,000 years ago it did not have a power grid to deal with.
It's not going to be particularly good for any satellites outside the Van Allen belts, either. That would be most of them. Sensitive electronics and ions don't exactly play nice together at the best of times.
Most of the power grid will cope. I'm betting a few local failures with the very oldest substations, tops.
I do not think so. Many of our systems were built in the 1950s and even not hardended against EMP bursts. The US government is currently as of last week of running tests of a EMP attack
true enough. what about electronics down on the surface? the information network in which we're now immersed, and which many twenty somethings take for granted the same way most of us take the air for granted, depends crucially on electronics that, to put it lightly, are ill-prepared to deal with significantly increased radiation of that sort. Without knowing enough to make any sort of accurate prognostication, it seems to me possible that we may be shorn of that network, leaving many younger folk feeling naked and disabled.
Below the surface yes they will survive but above no. A 2012 report by the National Academy of Science said terrorists could cripple the nation by damaging or destroying hard-to-replace components, some of which aren’t even made in the United States.