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Tuesday, November 05, 2013

SUN: Something BIG is about to Happen

(Updated - See below*)

NASA: The Sun’s Poles Will Reverse within 3 to 4 Months ~

It may be starting already.~ As measured from early August, 2013, we are now in November, in the third month.  

How will this affect Comet ISON's path?
See ISON'S Journey toward the Sun. ~ "

The comet will reach its closest approach to the sun on Thanksgiving Day — Nov. 28, 2013 — 
*(UPDATE: This Month-Old page mysteriously re-appeared at the top of Global Rumbling's editing page this morning, Nov. 6, 2013- Is Someone trying to tell us something?: 

Something is Happening - Sun - TV Alert

Blogger note: The sun has been in RED X-FLARE ALERT for several days now - as of the morning of November 6, 2013.  Check the upper left of this web-page for the current condition.  Click on it for more info.

~End of Update)

Continue with article:
August 5, 2013:  Something big is about to happen on the sun.The sun's global magnetic field is about to flip, a sign that Solar Max has arrived.

"It looks like we're no more than 3 to 4 months away from a complete field reversal," says solar physicist Todd Hoeksema of Stanford University. "This change will have ripple effects throughout the solar system."

Hoeksema is the director of Stanford's Wilcox Solar Observatory, one of the few observatories in the world that monitor the sun's polar magnetic fields.  The poles are a herald of change. Just as Earth scientists watch our planet's polar regions for signs of climate change, solar physicists do the same thing for the sun. Magnetograms at Wilcox have been tracking the sun's polar magnetism since 1976, and they have recorded three grand reversals—with a fourth in the offing.

Field Flip (WSO, 200px)
Astronomers at the Wilcox Solar Observatory (WSO) 
monitor the sun's global magnetic field on a daily basis. 

Solar physicist Phil Scherrer, also at Stanford, describes what happens: "The sun's polar magnetic fields weaken, go to zero, and then emerge again with the opposite polarity. This is a regular part of the solar cycle."  
A reversal of the sun's magnetic field is, literally, a big event. The domain of the sun's magnetic influence (also known as the "heliosphere") extends billions of kilometers beyond Pluto. Changes to the field's polarity ripple all the way out to the Voyager probes, on the doorstep of interstellar space. 
Blogger question:  How will this affect Comet ISON's path? 
Heliospheric Current Sheet
An artist's concept of the heliospheric current sheet,
becomes more wavy when the sun's magnetic field flips. 
When solar physicists talk about solar field reversals, their conversation often centers on the "current sheet."  The current sheet is a sprawling surface jutting outward from the sun's equator where the sun's slowly-rotating magnetic field induces an electrical current.  The current itself is small, only one ten-billionth of an amp per square meter (0.0000000001 amps/m2), but there’s a lot of it: the amperage flows through a region 10,000 km thick and billions of kilometers wide.  Electrically speaking, the entire heliosphere is organized around this enormous sheet.
During field reversals, the current sheet becomes very wavy. Scherrer likens the undulations to the seams on a baseball.  As Earth orbits the sun, we dip in and out of the current sheet. Transitions from one side to another can stir up stormy space weather around our planet.
Cosmic rays are also affected. These are high-energy particles accelerated to nearly light speed by supernova explosions and other violent events in the galaxy.  Cosmic rays are a danger to astronauts and space probes, and some researchers say they might affect the cloudiness and climate of Earth. The current sheet acts as a barrier to cosmic rays, deflecting them as they attempt to penetrate the inner solar system. A wavy, crinkly sheet acts as a better shield against these energetic particles from deep space.
As the field reversal approaches, data from Wilcox show that the sun's two hemispheres are out of synch. 
"The sun's north pole has already changed sign, while the south pole is racing to catch up," says Scherrer. "Soon, however, both poles will be reversed, and the second half of Solar Max will be underway."
When that happens, Hoeksema and Scherrer will share the news with their colleagues and the public.
Stay tuned to Science@NASA for updates.
Author:Dr. Tony PhillipsProduction editor: Dr. Tony Phillips | Credit: Science@NASA
More information:
Is Solar Max Double-Peaked?  -- ScienceCast video

UPDATE:  Wednesday, November 06, 2013

  • See Also: 

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    What’s the story on Comet ISON’s August 2013 ... shell and started its trek toward the sun. ...Global Rumblings depends heavily upon the the ...

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