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.
“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.”
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:
THE DAY THE SUN BROUGHT DARKNESS (NASA)
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.
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