Earth logo

The Sun's Poles Are Shifting: What Will Happen to us?

Sun poles

By SunnyPublished about a month ago 6 min read

the sun is getting ready to flip as its magnetic poles are reversing similar to Earth the Sun has a magnetic north and a magnetic South but unlike Earth the reversing process of the sun's poles is more frequent and easier to predict the next flipping is expected to take place this year between April and August as apocalyptic as it might sound you don't have to worry if you're around 30 you've already experienced this phenomenon more than once as the sun flips every 11 years you probably didn't notice any changes back then because this process doesn't impact Earth's life so much but this time things might be a little different on Earth ocean currents are movements that play a crucial role in influencing both climate and weather by Distributing heat from the equator to the poles on the sun these currents are more like an ocean of plasma but they not only transport heat but also carry electromagnetic energy that happens because the sun is a huge ball of hot and ionized gases that keep flowing inside its core by fusing together hydrogen atoms and forming helium our star releases a massive amount of energy leading to these very heavy flowing electric currents and whenever you have currents you have magnetic fields it's easier to understand if you think of that classic experiment with a wire and a nail that you probably conducted in elementary school when electricity flows through a wire it creates a magnetic field around the wire so when you connect a wire to a battery and wrap it around a nail the nail becomes a magnet this is similar to how electric currents create magnetic fields on the sun this whole process with the help of which the sun generates its magnetic field is called a Dynamo we can't observe it directly but we can see its effects on the sun's surface when plasma and magnetism flows become un stable and intense they manifest as sunspots you know those dark areas on the sun surface much about how the Dynamo Works remains a mystery but scientists have learned something important after observing these sunspots for centuries the Dynamo process follows a pattern about every decade it reorganizes itself the sun's polar magnetic fields get weakened eventually reaching zero and then they return but with the opposite polarity back in the 50s researchers figured out that when sunspots start to ramp up and become more intense it means the PS are gearing up for a reversal and over the past few years solar activity has been off the charts we're talking about more solar flares more electromagnetic radiation bursts and more plasma blobs being ejected into space it's like we're sitting in the front row at the Solar System's most epic fireworks display in fact the sun hasn't been been this Lively in probably two decades right now experts think the polar fields are almost in sync and steadily weakening inching closer and closer to zero but we haven't reached the point of reversal yet although it might sound like the sun flips its magnetic poles like clockwork every 11 years the truth is that it's not as neat as it seems this path can be bumpy and some aspects of the phenomenon are still very hard to ICT take the last solar cycle for example the Northern Hemisphere started its magnetic flip back in early June 2012 but then it kind of hit a snag and lingered around the neutral point until late 2014 meanwhile in the southern hemisphere things were smoother with the polarity switching over in mid 2013 this time around the sun is actually playing nice things seem to be running way smoother this cycle with the poles transitioning more evenly but here's the thing reversal processes are never the same that's what makes this phenomenon so interesting to observe but at the same time it's hard to predict how it'll affect us down here here on Earth we don't have to worry too much about those intense sun explosions happening 93 million miles away but if and I emphasize if a solar storm were to reach our planet the main threat it would bring would probably be the disruption of communication satellites in space however things might be different in this cycle reversal happening in 2024 because the number of satellites has skyrocketed in recent years for example Elon musk's starlink system alone involves more than 4,000 of them all these satellites along with communication and GPS satellites could be impacted or even destroyed by a powerful solar storm although the chances of a powerful solar storm hitting Earth are low it's not impossible back in 1859 during the Carrington event a storm occurred near the peak of the solar cycle causing currents to Surge through Telegraph lines sparking fires and disrupting messages worldwide Earth fell silent as Telegraph Communications failed just imagine what a solar storm could do to our vast number of satellites today it could affect everything we rely on daily from space-based communication and navigation to weather forecasting Services the ground level power distribution could also be affected you can forget about watching YouTube or bright side because if such an event occurred today it would cause an internet apocalypse sending countless people and businesses offline there's a prediction that says that if a Carrington class event happened today it would result in Damages ranging from 0.6 to 2.6 trillion and I'm talking about the United States alone fortunately for us solar storms as intense as the Carrington event happen only once every 500 years or so bad news for communication satellites but great news for Aurora Watchers during the Carrington event dazzling auror Borealis lit up the sky as Polar light shows stretched far beyond their usual ranges the northern lights were spotted as far south as Cuba and Honolulu Hawaii while the Southern Lights were seen as far north as Santiago Chile for many people around the world this was their first glimpse of the Aurora leaving them obsessed with the unusually bright Skies some of them thought it was the end of the world While others began their day early thinking the sun had risen after hearing birds chirping and seeing the bright Skies today we know there's nothing strange about it considering that the appearance of auroras at lower altitudes is one of the expected effects of the sun's magnetic pole reversal typically these dazzling phenomena are found between 60 and 75° latitude but during the last magnetic pole reversal in 2013 intense auroras were observed below 50° eyewitnesses describe these auroras as blood or deep crimson red shining so brightly that you could read a newspaper in their light it's important to study this phenomenon and not to fear it the inversion of the magnetic poles on the sun is actually a great opportunity for scientists to better understand how our star Works since many pieces are still missing in the whole Dynamo situation we're still not very good at predicting why some solar Cycles are more intense than others or when exactly a coronal mass ejection will erupt but being able to predict that is becoming more and more necessary as we venture ourselves into space the more people are out there beyond Earth the more exposed they are to these strong solar storms that's why the scientific Community wants to know more precisely when a solar storm can cause damage to spacecraft and space stations plus it would help meteorologists make progress in predicting weather not only on Earth but also in Space the whole point is to make space travel safer as the interest in crude missions to the moon and Mars grows every year another reason why it's important to learn more about the sun's Poland version is to better understand how the mysterious interior of the sun works that could actually help us figure out the aspects of other stars in the universe and maybe get closer to answering the ultimate question why are we here.


About the Creator


Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.