General, Research, Technology

Astronomers say the Sun is in a midlife crisis. But what does it mean?

Despite what Stephen Hawking called the Sun"Unremarkable star", this giant ball of gases, supports life on our planet, emitting light and energy needed by all living things. According to the results of the work published in the journal Science, our star is truly unique. The authors of the study combined 4 years of photometric observations from the Kepler space telescope with astrometric data from the Gaia space telescope and estimated the brightness variations of 369 stars similar to the Sun. The results showed that other stars are, on average, five times more active and brighter than our home star. It is noteworthy that all 369 stars had the same mass, temperature, composition and rotation period as the Sun. While the researchers aren't entirely sure what makes the Sun so unique, they have several possible explanations. One of them says that "The sun is in a midlife crisis." But first things first.

A large number of sunspots on the Sun indicate increased solar activity, while their small number or complete absence - about decreased

Special "solar minimum"

An object located in the center of the solar system,the force of its gravity keeps all the planets in orbit and provides our blue world with the necessary amount of light and heat. And just like all living organisms on our planet, the Sun goes through life stages and changes that astronomers can track and as a result predict the behavior of a star. As I wrote earlier, at the moment scientists call the phase in which the star is, the solar minimum.

In short, the solar minimum is the periodthe life of a star, in which it exhibits the least activity for the entire solar cycle, equal to 11 years. For all these 11 years, the Sun has experienced energy peaks of activity, which are invariably followed by a decrease, and then again an increase and again a decrease, and so on in a circle.

When solar activity reaches its maximum, there are more sunspots and flares on the Sun, and during the least activity, just like now, there are practically no spots and flares on the star.

However, the current solar minimum astronomerscalled "great." The fact is that the last time such anomalously low solar activity was observed between 1650 and 1715, during the so-called Little Ice Age in the Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, "when the combination of cooling from volcanic aerosols and low solar activity led to a decrease in surface temperature", as reports the NASA Global Climate Change blog.

The sun is a truly special star, if only because we give you and me warmth and energy

New understanding of the processes occurring with ourstar shows what future awaits the Sun and how it will affect us here on Earth. Moreover, the authors of the scientific work suggest that the Sun may be experiencing a "midlife crisis." But how is this to be understood?

Middle age crisis

According to the study authors, they wantedsee if the Sun is somehow different from other stars of the same size and mass. They also indicate that solar activity is partially dependent on the sun's magnetic field. The brightness of the Sun is reflected in changes in magnetic fields, as a result of which changes in the magnetic fields of a star lead to fluctuations in its brightness.

Notably, the Sun's magnetic field may also be responsible for its mysterious 11-year cycle.

Recall that every 11 years, the magnetic field of the Sunpasses through a periodic cycle in which the South and North Poles change places significantly. Towards the end of this cycle, the sun's activity begins to increase, with more solar flares and material erupting into space. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Solar Research write. that “they really don't know why the cycle lasts 11 years or how it is generated. Other stars also have cycles, but their duration ranges from three to eight years. "

Solar minimum and maximum look like this

While researchers aren't entirely sure what doesThe sun is so unique, they have several possible explanations. One possibility is that the Sun will become as active at some point in the future, and other stars are simply in a different phase of their life cycle. However, this could happen anywhere between 10,000 and a million years, or even 10 million years, researchers are not entirely sure. But if this happens and the Sun becomes as active as the other 369 stars used in the study, it will have consequences for us on Earth.

See also: Just look! The most detailed photographs of the sun's surface

At some point during its presentIn an 11-year cycle, the Sun will eject boiling hot plasma in solar flares throughout the solar system. If the Sun were to become more active, then these high-energy events could occur more often and have more energetic flares. These solar storms disrupt communications on Earth and affect orbiting satellites.

“Another explanation is that The sun is in a midlife crisis "... The Sun is about 4.5 billionyears, which is about half the life cycle of a star. For this reason, the researchers suggest that stars may enter some kind of transition period in the middle of their life cycle, when they become less active, right and we are. What do you think about the uniqueness of our star and the reasons for its decline? We will wait for the answer here!