Something big may be about to happen on the Sun — “the Termination Event”

In science, what are considered ‘bold’ or ‘outside of the box’ theories have just as much chance of being correct as mainstream lines of thought; after all, science doesn’t work on consensus.

[Below is an abridged article from the always excellent Dr. Tony Phillips]

Something big may be about to happen on the sun…

“We call it the Termination Event,” says Scott McIntosh, a solar physicist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), “and it’s very, very close to happening.”

The Termination Event is a relatively new idea in solar physics, not may researchers have heard of it. Its main champions are McIntosh and colleague Bob Leamon of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

According to the two scientists, vast bands of magnetism are drifting across the surface of the sun, and when oppositely-charged bands collide at the equator, they annihilate (or “terminate”).

There’s no explosion — this is magnetism, not anti-matter; nevertheless, the Termination Event is a big deal as it can kickstart the next solar cycle into a higher gear.

Oppositely charged magnetic bands (red and blue) march toward the sun’s equator where they annihilate one another, kickstarting the next solar cycle. []

“If the Terminator Event happens soon, as we expect, new Solar Cycle 25 could have a magnitude that rivals the top few since record-keeping began,” says McIntosh.

But this stance is, to say the least, controversial, writes Dr Phillips. Most solar physicists believe that Solar Cycle 25 will be weak, akin to the anemic Solar Cycle 24 which barely peaked back in 2012-2013. Orthodox models of the sun’s inner magnetic dynamo favor a weak cycle and do not even include the concept of “terminators.”

“What can I say?” laughs McIntosh. “We’re heretics!”

The researchers outlined their reasoning in a December 2020 paper in the research journal Solar Physics.

Looking back over 270 years of sunspot data, they found that Terminator Events divide one solar cycle from the next, happening approximately every 11 years. Emphasis on approximately. The interval between terminators ranges from 10 to 15 years–which is key to predicting the solar cycle.

“We found that the longer the time between terminators, the weaker the next cycle would be,” explains Leamon. “Conversely, the shorter the time between terminators, the stronger the next solar cycle would be.”

The official forecast for Solar Cycle 25 (red) is weak; McIntosh and Leamon believe it will be more like the strongest solar cycles of the past.

Example: Sunspot Cycle 4 began with a terminator in 1786 and ended with a terminator in 1801, an unprecedented 15 years later. The following cycle 5 was incredibly weak with a peak amplitude of just 82 sunspots. That cycle would become known as the beginning of the “Dalton” Grand Minimum.

Solar Cycle 25 is shaping up to be the opposite. Instead of a long interval, it appears to be coming on the heels of a very short one, only 10 years since the Terminator Event that began Solar Cycle 24. Previous solar cycles with such short intervals have been among the strongest in recorded history.

These ideas may be controversial, but they have a virtue that all scientists can appreciate: They’re testable.

If the Termination Event happens soon, and Solar Cycle 25 skyrockets, the “heretics” may be on to something.

Why this Matters?

Our planet’s magnetic field is our protection from space weather, and it has been waning since 1850.

This waning has increased ten-fold over recent years:

If we’re about to have one of the strongest solar cycles in recorded history –as proposed by McIntosh and Leamon– then the electrical grid we modern humans rely on to survive is doomed to fail.

Put simply, a strong solar cycle 25 means more solar flares — and it would take just one powerful earth-directed outburst (one on par with the Carrington event of 1859, for example) to disrupt/destroy our modern way of life.

Given our civilization’s total and utter dependence on electronics, any X-flare that penetrates our waning magnetosphere would prove infinitely more destructive than those of the past. Our grid would fry, and EVERY system we have in place would go offline, almost instantly.

Quebec, 1989 is probably the best modern small-scale example of what might occur.

Earth’s magnetic field was far stronger in 1989 than it is today; yet still, on March 13, 1989, the entire province of Quebec, Canada suffered an electrical power blackout after a solar flare struck:


On Friday March 10, 1989 astronomers witnessed a powerful explosion on the sun.

Within minutes, tangled magnetic forces on the sun had released a billion-ton cloud of gas.

It was like the energy of thousands of nuclear bombs exploding at the same time.

The storm cloud rushed out from the sun, straight towards Earth, at a million miles an hour. The solar flare that accompanied the outburst immediately caused short-wave radio interference, including the jamming of radio signals from Radio Free Europe into Russia — it was thought that the signals had been jammed by the Kremlin.

On the evening of Monday, March 12 the vast cloud of solar plasma (a gas of electrically charged particles) finally struck Earth’s magnetic field. The violence of this ‘geomagnetic storm’ caused spectacular ‘northern lights’ that could be seen as far south as Florida and Cuba.

The magnetic disturbance was incredibly intense. It actually created electrical currents in the ground beneath much of North America. Just after 2:44 a.m. on March 13, the currents found a weakness in the electrical power grid of Quebec. In less than 2 minutes, the entire Quebec power grid lost power.

During the 12-hour blackout that followed, millions of people suddenly found themselves in dark office buildings and underground pedestrian tunnels, and in stalled elevators. Most people woke up to cold homes for breakfast. The blackout also closed schools and businesses, kept the Montreal Metro shut during the morning rush hour, and closed Dorval Airport.

The solar flare that hit was a relatively minor one (when compared to the Carrington event, for example), yet the Quebec Blackout was by no means a local event. Across the United States from coast to coast, over 200 power grid problems erupted within minutes of the start of the March 13 storm.

In space, satellites actually tumbled out of control for several hours. NASA’s TDRS-1 communication satellite recorded over 250 anomalies as high-energy particles invaded the satellite’s sensitive electronics.

Even the Space Shuttle Discovery was having its own mysterious problems. A sensor on one of the tanks supplying hydrogen to a fuel cell was showing unusually high pressure readings on March 13. The problem went away just as mysteriously after the solar storm subsided.

Quebec Blackout, 1989.

Although solar cycle 25 is undoubtedly building, the latest data from NOAA sees it tracking the original “weak” predictions: “The sun is performing as we expected,” said Lisa Upton, co-chair of the NOAA/NASA Solar Cycle 25 Prediction Panel, in April.

Below is the ISES Solar Cycle Sunspot Number Progression plot — the red curve shows NOAA’s original predicted sunspot counts for Solar Cycle 25, with the orange curve showing the new best fit:

If current trends hold then SC25 could now peak as early as 2024, similar in strength to the relatively weak cycle (SC24) that preceded it; however, as highlighted above, most researchers haven’t accounted for “the Terminator Event.”

And that’s the exciting thing about true scientific endeavor — nothing is fully understood, and any field of study can be sideswiped by a surprise that rewrites the textbooks. Those who us terminology such as “settled science” and “consensus” do so to shut down the discussion, not to broaden it, usually in order to push an agenda.

A “Terminator Event” (coupled with Earth’s waning magnetic filed) would likely throw us back to the Stone Age. It could impact us immediately, too — so far faster than a Grand Solar Minimum.

Only time will tell — we’ll simply have to wait and see what happens, together.

We humans still have a very loose grip on the cosmological mechanisms that define our reality. Yet a humble approach to life eludes far too many. In the end, this is all a ride, and a very short one at that. We can’t even predict what the sun is going do, let alone control it — so just throw your arms up, and see where it takes you.

Don’t fall for narrow-minded propagandizing.

Open your eyes to ALL possibilities.

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Grand Solar Minimum + Pole Shift

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16 Thoughts to “Something big may be about to happen on the Sun — “the Termination Event””

  1. Did Friday March 10, 1989 mainly affect the part of the earth that faced the Sun at the time? i.e. North America
    Assuming we are lucky and only get a minor Solar flare, big enough to wipe out parts of the grids in a continent, so we could recover after a few months or years. Would it fry a lot of our electronics on the part of the earth that faced the Sun at the time?
    There are claims that the grid has some protection built into it to cope with Solar flares, but if all our laptop are fried then it make no difference.
    I have servers at Latitudes, 80, -12 and -30, so the extent of past flares is of interest to me.

    1. xnightx

      Everyday, the end of the world is near on
      I came here because I was tired of the stupidity of the AGW, now I’m getting tired of the opposite view.
      Do I need vacation ?!

      1. R.Hall

        Amen brother. I’m outa here!

    2. Matt Dalby

      Presumably it would only be electronics that faced the sun when the flare arrived that would be affected. I fail to see how even an X-class flare could affect the grid on the opposite side of the earth, although if the peak of the flare lasted long enough then a large part of the earth could be affected. Since the initial flare would be visible almost as soon as it happened the damaging charged particles would take up to 2 days to reach the earth, but no-one would be sure exactly how long, and therefore would be unable to accurately predict where would see the worse impacts. Presumably it would also depend on the time of year, and which of the earth’s hemispheres was facing towards the sun. The grid will have some protection built in, but as this costs a lot of money it’s a case of cost versus likely risk. So for example the grid may be able to withstand what is believed to be a 1 in 50 year event but may not withstand a 1 in 200 year event.

      1. William

        Thanks that is best reply by far. My fear is most people don’t realise how dependant the supply chain is, if routers and servers got fried, it could be chaos, as we are becoming ever more dependant on the internet, people could starve, even if the grid stays up. 20% of Gas Stations ran out of fuel in one US state after the pipeline software was hacked recently, although it appear the company shutdown the pipe to protect their profits rather than protect consumers.

      2. Ian

        These events are nothing new. The use of the term “Termination Event” just raises the fear level. Termination Events occur every 11years on average with each Solar Cycle at the end of the latest cycle, and then the next Cycle starts. Hence the use of the word “Termination.” It does NOT mark the termination of Life on Earth, so, let’s stop the fear mongering and take deep breath of 420ppm CO2 and continue living. The only thing we have no experience with for this event is that the Magnetic Field of the Earth is reported as being weaker than usual.

  2. TW

    Great. Another string to the bow of the CO2 AGW lies.

    Where’s a GSM when you need one?

    1. Scott

      I’m all for new, against the grain hypotheses, but this one exuded a slight aroma of, was it agenda mixed with desperation..?

  3. John J Powers

    Great Site!!!

  4. DB

    Game over man, Game Over!
    Climate Change & everything that goes with it.
    All due to the Sun.

  5. Ian

    I read the report following the 1989 Event in Quebec. The damage done was confined to Transformers that are constructed as 3 x Single Phase Units Delta/Star connected externally to operate as a 3Phase unit.

    Hydro Quebec have since installed Multiple sets of Series Capacitors in their 735kV Transmission Lines to mitigate the effects of Solar Storm Stray DC line current. Most AC System Operators are aware of the Solar Effects and have operating Procedures in place to reduce the effects of Solar induced Current.

    I suspect this is another “be scared of the next big problem” to grace our civilisation.

    1. William

      Good that confirms what I had heard about the grid, but would it fry a lot of our electronics or not?

      1. Ian

        I doubt that it would. The Magnetic storm induces DC current in the surface of the Earth. The DC current cannot destroy individual electronic devices because there is no Potential Difference in the earth around a small locality high enough to cause any damage. Unless there is a direct connection by wire to a distant earth situation, there can be no local damage caused by induced DC current.

        1. William

          Thanks Ian, that reassuring and probably explains why there is so little info on the subject. Thinking about it, all the Data centres have sophisticated surge protection and independant backup power supplies already and I think the same is true of the mobile and landline systems as well.

  6. Dan B

    The Solar polar fields are nowhere near the equator or ‘Termination Point’

    See Polar Fields graph;

    And one reason the Earth’s magnetic field has weakened over the past few years is probably due to weakened solar activity (polar field strength) over the past decade.

  7. A. Chester

    I am also concerned about Sunspot AR3088 and the prospect of a Carrington-like event. It will be aiming at us imminently.

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