The Sun, the light at the centre of our solar system is fast approaching the end of its 11 year solar cycle. With the height of solar activity reached, the solar maximum, is it now time for our Sun to slumber?
NASA, not short of an opinion on all things scientific expect the current solar cycle to end mid-2013, while Japanese researchers armed with their own observations dispute NASA’s predictions. Suggesting instead that May this year will see the Sun’s pole shift, temporarily creating a quad pole magnetic field until the pole reversal completes and the next solar cycle begins.
An international research team led by Saku Tsuneta, a professor at National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) has been performing the monthly solar observations since September 2008, making use of Hinode, the Japanese solar observing satellite. Saku and his team of researchers have discovered that the sun’s pole shift will occur 12 months sooner than expected, May 2012.