PerspectiveAstronomy

What future awaits the Sun?

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Science  01 May 2020:
Vol. 368, Issue 6490, pp. 466-467
DOI: 10.1126/science.abb9208

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Summary

The Sun and other similar (solar-like) stars have an internal magnetic field that can emerge on the surface, forming features such as dark spots, which drive the so-called magnetic activity. For both the Sun and solar-like stars, magnetic activity varies with time and strongly correlates with photometric (brightness) variability. In the solar and stellar scientific communities, a debate rages about how the magnetic activity of the Sun compares with that of similar stars and whether the Sun will reach very high activity levels or is in a period of transition to a state of reduced magnetic activity. On page 518 of this issue, Reinhold et al. (1) compare the Sun's photometric variability with that of solar-like stars and find the latter to be more active.

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