Sun’s magnetic ‘heartbeat’ is discovered
NBC News — A magnetic “solar heartbeat” beats deep in the sun’s interior, generating energy that leads to solar flares and sunspots, according to new research. A new supercomputer simulation, described in Thursday’s edition of the journal Science, probes the sun’s periodic magnetic field reversals. Every 40 years, according to the model, the sun’s zonal magnetic field bands switch their orientation, or polarity. That cycle is about four times longer than the 11-year sunspot cycle that governs the level of solar activity. Being able to model such a regular, long-term process is remarkable, the scientists said. The new research, led by the University of Montreal’s Paul Charbonneau, describes work from both his research group and other, independent coalitions simulating the sun’s interior.