Introduction to the Solar Activity Cycle: Overview of Causes and Consequences

A. Balogh, H. S. Hudson, K. Petrovay, R. von Steiger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The 11-year activity cycle is a dominant characteristic of the Sun. It is the result of the evolution in time the solar dynamo that generates the solar magnetic field. The nearly periodic variation in the sunspot number has been known since the mid-1800s; as the observations of the Sun broadened to cover an increasing number of phenomena, the same 11-year periodicity was noted in most of them. The discovery of solar magnetic fields introduced a 22-year periodicity, as the magnetic polarities of the polar regions change sign every 11 years. Correlations have been identified and quantified among all the measured parameters, but in most cases such correlations remain empirical rather than grounded in physical processes. This introductory paper and the reviews in the volume describe and discuss the current state of understanding of the causal chains that lead from the variable nature of the solar magnetic fields to the variability of solar phenomena. The solar activity cycle is poorly understood: predictions made for the current Cycle 24 have proved to be generally wrong. However, the re-evaluation of the relationships in the light of unexpected shortcomings is likely to lead to a better physical understanding of solar physics. This will help in the systematic reassessment of solar activity indices and their usefulness in describing and predicting the solar activity cycle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Volume186
Issue number1-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Fingerprint

solar magnetic field
solar cycles
solar activity
periodic variations
magnetic field
periodicity
causes
sun
solar phenomena
solar physics
sunspots
polar region
sunspot
polar regions
polarity
physics
cycles
evaluation
prediction
predictions

Keywords

  • Solar activity
  • Solar cycle
  • Solar indices
  • Solar magnetic field
  • Sun

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Introduction to the Solar Activity Cycle : Overview of Causes and Consequences. / Balogh, A.; Hudson, H. S.; Petrovay, K.; von Steiger, R.

In: Space Science Reviews, Vol. 186, No. 1-4, 2014, p. 1-15.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Balogh, A. ; Hudson, H. S. ; Petrovay, K. ; von Steiger, R. / Introduction to the Solar Activity Cycle : Overview of Causes and Consequences. In: Space Science Reviews. 2014 ; Vol. 186, No. 1-4. pp. 1-15.
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