PARIS – Researchers said planets appear to exert an influence on the sun, and their configurations may be responsible for long-term cycles of increased solar activity. Forecasting intense solar activity is essential as it may trigger satellite and power grid disruptions.
Superflares are massives eruptions of solar plasma, throwing billions of tons of gas into the atmosphere and causing magnetic storms in space and on the Earth. Satellites, aircraft avionics, power grids, radio signals could be disrupted or destroyed. Back in 1859, the solar flare observed by the British astronomer Richard Carrington only disrupted the telegraph networks which had been established in Europe and North America. Today, a geomagnetic storm of the same magnitude would cause around two trillion dollars' worth of economic damage in the U.S. alone.
Current models of solar activity assume that the origin and modulation of solar activity lie within the Sun itself. However, researchers from Eawag and the ETH Zurich claimed that correlations between direct solar activity indices and planetary configurations have been reported on many occasions.
Researchers said they have compared cycles of solar magnetic activity over the past 10,000 years with the action of the planets. They observed that the peaks and troughs reappear with precisely the same periodicity even after being attenuated or vanishing altogether for some time.
Based on their observations, scientists suggested that the long-term solar magnetic activity is modulated by planetary effects. "Everything points to an external 'clock', and that can really only be the planets," researchers claimed.
The study, to be published in Astronomy & Astrophysics
, is presented as a “hypothesis”. However, if their conclusions are confirmed, they should help to develop more realistic models of the Sun and to generate more reliable forecasts of the “Space Climate”, a key element for longer space voyages. See related links:ASIC design launched for Euro space missions
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