NASA Goddard Heliophysicist talks about sun’s magnetic field “flip-flopping”

Posted at 9:43 AM, Dec 06, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-06 09:44:38-05

An interesting event is taking place on the sun. The magnetic fields of our star are about to flip flop!

If you were near the sun and had your compass pointed north, the dial would actually swing south, according to NASA.

South is North and North is South: The Sun’s Magnetic Field is Flip Flopping.

About every 11 years, the sun reaches the peak of its solar cycle called solar maximum, which we will reach soon. That peak is typically characterized by an increase in sunspots and solar activity like solar flares and coronal mass ejections, NASA says. All that activity of solar max is driven by a strange magnetic phenomenon – the north and south poles swap places. But there’s no reason to worry. The magnetic fields of stars and planets often change and in fact, Earth’s north and south poles have traded places many times throughout history, though that tends to happen on the order of tens of millions of years.

Alex Young, NASA Heliophysicist, has more information. Watch here: