Has there ever been a time where the Sun has fallen asleep? Know what happened during this event.
Our Sun is nearing the middle of its 11-year solar cycle, resulting in increased solar activity and solar output. Earth has faced numerous solar flares these past few months and more are expected as the Sun moves ahead in its cycle. This has resulted in more frequent solar eruptions resulting in more solar flares sent hurtling towards Earth with the potential of causing power grid failures, blackouts and GPS crashes. Scientists expect solar activity to be at its peak in the year 2025 when the Sun is well into its solar cycle.
The Sun is nearly 4.6 billion years old, formed at the same time as our Solar System. However, it has not shone as brightly throughout the years. In fact, the Sun has had years when its solar activity has been minimum, known as the “Grand Minimum”. Now, an astonishing revelation has been made by the researchers at the Center of Excellence in Space Sciences India, as per India Today. In a study published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society journal, Indian researchers Chitradeep Saha along with Sanghita Chandra and Professor Dibyendu Nandy have studied previous 10,000 years of solar activity to determine the effects of the period when the Sun has fallen into a trough so to speak.
The study revealed that even when the Sun has been in a state of deep sleep, solar activity has been constant on its surface as well as its interior. Although much of the solar activity such as solar flares and sunspots stopped, minimum magnetic activity continued to take place, which is necessary to maintain the solar cycle.
Chitradeep Saha, lead author of the paper told India Today, “Our 10,000-year-long computer simulations shed light on the dynamics that go on in the solar interior and at the polar regions even when there are critically low number of sunspot eruptions on the solar surface for a prolonged period known as grand solar minimum.”