Ast101 Lecture - November 22 2012.pdf

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University of Toronto St. George
Astronomy & Astrophysics
Michael Reid

AST101: The Sun and its Neighbours November 22, 2012 The Solar Cycle - sun goes through a cycle from little solar activity to a lot of solar activity - the two extremes of this cycle are called "solar maximum" and "solar minimum" - the entire cycle takes 11 years - sunspot activity peaks at solar maximum, and are rare during solar minimum - differential rotation tangles the sun's magnetic field ▯ - because the earth is not a solid, it an rotate at a different rate at the equator than it does at the poles ▯ - at solar minimum, the magnetic field lines are unwound ▯ - they start to get wound up, and at solar maximum it is almost horizontal ▯ - this leads to "kinks" in the magnetic field ▯ - the places where the magnetic field comes up and goes down through the surface of the sun is where you get sunspots - this is why they tend to come in pairs, and why we see loop
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