In what NASA calls a major solar event, the sun’s magnetic field is soon going to flip. A complete shift in the polarity of the sun’s magnetic field occurs about every 11 years and now we are some three to four months away from another complete field reversal, according to Todd Hoeksema, director of Stanford University’s Wilcox Solar Observatory. This change will have ripple effects throughout the solar system, he said in a NASA news release.
Every 11 years or so, at the peak of each solar cycle, the sun’s inner magnetic dynamo re-organizes itself, causing its magnetic field to change polarity, NASA said. The last peak, or Solar Maximum, happened in 2000. The upcoming reversal comes at the midpoint of Solar Cycle 24, so half of the Solar Maximum is still to come. Although the magnetic field reversal is a major solar system event, its effect on Earth will most likely be limited to some stormy space weather around the planet, experts say.