Solar Physics

Searching for the Sun's magnetic poles

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Science  20 Nov 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6263, pp. 924-925
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6263.924-g

Earth's magnetic axis and rotational axis don't line up, leading to magnetic north and south poles located some distance from the “true” rotational poles. In contrast, successful models of the Sun's magnetic field have assumed that the two axes are aligned, although it is difficult to see the Sun's poles from Earth. Yabar et al. analyzed 5 years of data from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, and after removing interfering active regions (around sunspots), they discovered a periodic magnetic signal that matches the Sun's rotation. They interpret this as a magnetic axis offset from the rotation axis, as seen in some other stars, and suggest that it may explain some aspects of Earth's space weather.

Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 453, L69 (2015).

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