The sun’s north and south poles have changed places said NASA, completing its field reversal at the end of 2013.
In a statement by solar physicist Phil Scherrer, it was revealed that the “sun’s polar magnetic field got weaken,” reaching zero before reemerging in opposite polarity.
“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,” rt.com said, noting the statement made by Stanford solar physicist Phil Scherrer.
The event has been hailed by Dr. Tony Phillips of NASA.
“A reversal of the sun's magnetic field is, literally, a big event,” Phillips said, according to rt.com.
The solar physicist from Stanford then described the impact of the sun’s magnetic field reversal. Phillips reiterated that the event may only have an effect to space exploration, emphasizing that it does not have “catastrophic repercussions” as may have earlier been feared.
“Cosmic rays are a danger to astronauts and space probes, and some researchers say they might affect the cloudiness and climate of Earth,” added Scherrer, said rt.com.
With the reversal that has reportedly been completed at the end of the year, some changes will be observed according to experts.
RT.com said that “both the aurora borealis and its southern counterpart - the australis - are set to become broader, more frequent, and more visible now that the event has reached its final stage.”
Solar physicists said early this month that “the sun's north pole has already changed sign, while the South Pole is racing to catch up.”
NASA also provided more concrete details on the impact of the sun’s magnetic reversal. Phillips noted that the polarity changes may be felt to the Voyager probes.
“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,” Phillips was quoted as saying by rt.com.
Another solar physicist, Todd Hoeksama compared the process to a tide in an interview with Metro.
“It’s kind of like a tide coming in or going out. Each little wave brings a little more water in, and eventually you get to the full reversal,” rt.com cited Hoeksama in a Metro report.
Referring to the process as Solar Cycle 24, NASA has earlier released a visualization on how it would take place. Experts said that the sun’s magnetic reversal began in 1997 and was predicted to end in 2013. Though it was earlier predicted to peak in 2012, astronomers had then changed its forecasts when it recorded “extremely low activity” in 2009. RT.com noted scientists’ claim that had the low trend continued, “the Earth could have seen Little Ice Age.”
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