The sun is getting stormier, and it’ll peak just in time for a total solar eclipse
The next solar cycle is ramping up, offering spacecraft an unprecedented chance to unravel the sun’s mysteries while giving people on Earth a stunning show.
For all we’ve learned about the sun, our home star remains shrouded in mystery. Now, after seven years of relative calm, the sun is set to become more temperamental—and a fleet of sun-gazing spacecraft are ready to watch as it awakens. Those spacecraft are offering scientists an unprecedented chance to study our stormy star and the ways it can affect our cosmic neighborhood.
Like broods of cicadas that periodically emerge and vanish, the sun cycles between periods of storm and slumber over the course of 11 years or so. These cycles are linked to the sun’s internal magnetic activity, and are betrayed by telltale phenomena such as sunspots and solar flares.
Scientists keep a close eye on the sun’s temperament