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Sun enters ‘Solar Minimum’ state: Know all about the phenomenon

As per the Astronomer, Dr. Tony Phyllips, Solar minimum is underway and it’s a deep one. He also added that the sun’s magnetic field has become weak and has been allowing extra cosmic rays into the solar system.

May 21, 2020 14:23 IST
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Space authorities have reported that the sun has gone into the ‘Solar Minimum’ state and is about to enter the deepest period of the sunshine recession. As per the reports, sunspots are not visible at all and it has almost been 100 days of 2020 when the sun has shown zero sunspots.

As per the Astronomer, Dr. Tony Phyllips, Solar minimum is underway and it’s a deep one. He also added that the sun’s magnetic field has become weak and has been allowing extra cosmic rays into the solar system.

Back in 2017, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) had predicted that the sun is entering the solar minimum as the sunspots counts were relatively higher in 2014 and now they have been sliding toward a low point expected in 2019-20.

NASA Sun & Space had also shared a tweet mentioning that the sun goes through the regular cycles of high & low activity but it doesn't have any impact on Earth's climate.

What is Solar Minimum?

As per NASA, solar minimum is a part of the sunspot cycle. This cycle lasts on average of 11 years and currently we are at the peak of that cycle.

Dean Pesnell of NASA’s Goddard Space Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt had stated in 2017 that every 11 years or so, sunspots fade away that brings a period of relative calm. This event is called ‘Solar Minimum’ and is a very regular part of the sunspot cycle.

He further mentioned that while intense activity such as sun flares and sunspots subsides during solar minimum, it doesn’t mean that the sun becomes dull but it signifies that solar activity simply changes form. Pesnell further mentioned that during solar minimum we observe the development of long-lived coronal holes.

Will this phenomenon affects Earth?

The solar cycles are not generally noticeable from Earth. More aurora activity during solar maximum can be observed since aurora’s are generated by solar activity.

At Solar Minimum, the ultraviolet radiation decreases but its effect can be primarily observed at the stratosphere and the higher altitudes. It causes the Earth’s atmosphere to shrink slightly which reduces the drag on satellite.

As per the Astronomer Dean Pesnell, during Solar Minimum, the sun’s magnetic field weakens and it provides less shielding from the cosmic rays and this poses a threat to the astronomers travelling through space. But there will no major impact of this phenomenon on the Earth or on its atmosphere.

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