Roy Martin: New Planetary-Solar cyclicity hypothesis

Posted: August 13, 2010 by tallbloke in Astrophysics, solar system dynamics

Relations Between Solar Activity and Solar Tides Caused by the Planets Defined
Roy Martin

copyright 2009 Contact author for permission to republish.

The database established by Martin (1) is analysed. The database has monthly values for the
alignment index representing the tidal influence of the planets Venus, Earth and Jupiter on the sun.
The index values are plotted over long and short time scales. A pattern of five separate repeating
long waves is discovered, each wave having a period of 55.1533 years. The long wave (LW) peaks
and troughs are found to occur in a repeating series of intervals in the sequence: 10.3818-12.0039-
10.3818-12.0039-10.3818 years. The peaks of these waves are found to have a long term average
period of 11.0307 years. Each LW is found to be formed by the connection of 34 shorter periods
(SP), each 1.6222 years long. The interlacing of the five LWs results in five smaller intervals within
each SP, each with a period of 0.3244 years. It is found that the timing of the features observed
within sunspot cycles correspond very closely with the SPs and 0.3244 year intervals within each
SP. This includes the times of minima and maxima, and significant features of the shape of each
cycle. The significance of these several findings is discussed, and it is concluded that they show
convincingly that the combined tidal influence of the planets Venus, Earth and Jupiter is a primary
factor in the formation of many observed solar events.

click image for larger version
Update:Graph for 1650-1675 added for comparison.

Roy-Martin1650-1675 VEJ

Observations from long term plots.
The alignment index calculated by Martin (1) was plotted for two periods: from 1750 to 1900,
Figure 1., and 1900 to 2050, Figure 2. The cutoff level of 1.88 used by Martin is shown. These plots
are included mainly to show that, on this time scale, the crests of waves appear at intervals of
approximately eleven years, coinciding with the peaks of the planetary tidal influence curves
calculated by both Hung and Martin. In these plots the form of many waves is not at all clear. Some
are just visible down to an index level of about 2.2, but the lower part of the plot appears to be quite
The analysis done by Hung and Martin has extracted information from only the upper part of this
alignment index data, but, as pointed out by Martin, that does not show a very convincing case for a
cause and effect relationship with solar activity because the phase difference is sometimes lagging.
The alignment index data must therefore be analysed in some other way before it can be fully
accepted that tidal influences of the planets cause variations in solar activity.
Construction of shorter term plots.
Plots were made of the data with the time scale reduced to twenty five years each, covering the
periods from 1800 to 1825, and 1900 to 2050. Averaged monthly sunspot data is also plotted. The
plots are reproduced in Appendix A. The peaks of the waves seen in the long term plots are clearly
visible, and between each of those peaks a series of high points at regular intervals with a period of
~1.62 years. These are referred to as short period markers (SPM). The elegantly simple procedure
of joining-the-dots was used to first draw the shape of each LW peak, and then track the occurrence
of successive SPM down to between the 2.0 and 1.5 index levels. It was found that below an index
level of 1.5 the SPMs relate to low rather than high points within the pattern of SPs.

Completion of the emerging pattern in this manner revealed a sequence of five interlacing long
waves (LW). It is noted that there are intermediate low points in the lower part of the plots, mostly
below the 2.0 index level, that also occur at the SP interval. These have not been systematically
examined, but after an initial assessment it was concluded that they were unlikely to have much
bearing on the analysis and conclusions that follow. Because the SPM points, and thus the LWs
derived from them, arise from the precisely predictable regular orbits of the planets Venus, Earth
and Jupiter, it must be assumed that they have existed back into the distant past, and will continue
into the indefinite future. The LWs are numbered from one to five, with number one starting in
January 1900, at the midway low point (MLP) between the peaks on either side. A shallow ripple is
evident in the shape of the LWs during some periods. This is an artifact of the monthly intervals
between dates in the data set. True high and low points sometimes fall in between the plotted points,
and the method of smoothing used can result in turning points on the plots being a little too high or
too low, particularly at the low points.
Because there are five waves, it is seen that between each SPM point, intermediate waves (IW)
occur at intervals of 1.62÷5 = 0.325 years. This period helps to define the phase intervals between
the waves. The 1.62 year value for the SP referred to so far is a first approximation. Progressive
refinement of the analysis from those starting points enabled the following precise set of values and
relationships to be established…
The period of all LWs is 55.1533 ± 0.005 years. This basic number was arrived at by
measurement of cycles 1 and 5 over three full cycles from peak-to-peak. Accurate peak times were
obtained by interpolation on an enlarged graphical plot. Wave peaks are shown on the charts with
the wave number beside a triangle.
On the assumption that the peaks of the long waves are related to the sunspot cycle, the long
term average length of the cycle is 55.1533÷5=11.03067 ± 0.00133 years.
There are thirty four SPs in each LW. The true SP length is thus: 55.1533÷34 = 1.6222 years. The
period of the IWs is then: 1.6222÷5 = 0.3244 years. The mid points on the LWs are identified with
the wave number beside a downward facing triangle, aligned with a solid green line extending down
to the sunspot curve. It is observed that the MLP of any LW may not be the lowest point. The lowest
point can occur at the mid point, or at 1.6222 years before or after the mid point, and also there can
sometimes be almost equal low points at 1.6222 years on both sides of the mid point.
It is observed that the intervals between successive LW MLPs and peaks (LWP) fall as follows:
1 to 2 (1.6222 x 7) – (0.3244 x 3) = 10.3818 years.
2 to 3 (1.6222 x 7) + (0.3244 x 2) = 12.0039 years
3 to 4 (1.6222 x 7) – (0.3244 x 3) = 10.3818 years
4 to 5 (1.6222 x 7) + (0.3244 x 2) = 12.0039 years
5 to 1 (1.6222 x 7) – (0.3244 x 3) = 10.3818 years

Download and read the rest of Roy’s hypothesis here:

I recommend everyone takes the trouble to familiarise themselves with the abbreviations Roy employs for brevity. This is a technical paper which rewards careful reading. Notice well the 10.38 and 12 year intervals which are in agreement with Timo Niroma’s analysis of cycle length clusters.

I will be away working over the weekend. Roy has commitments which mean he won’t be around all the time to answer questions. There is also a time difference between most of our contributors and Roy’s location in Australia, so please have patience and return later if your coment isn’t replied to immediately. Thanks.

Appendix B
List of acronyms describing characteristic sequences of tidal gravity influence.
LW Long wave. Period of 55.1533 years.
SP Short period. Period of 1.6222 years. (55.1533 ÷ 34)
SPM Short period marker point. Indicating either the high or low point of the SPs constituting
a long wave.
IW Intermediate wave. Period of 0.3244 years. (1.6222÷ 5)
LWP Date at which a long wave peaks.
MLP Date of the midway low point between the peaks of a long wave.
DTP A single high wave approximately double that of an IW. Period of approximately 0.628
years. The shape and period of these vary a little because they are formed as the sum of
shorter waves. This implies a period of higher tidal influence, but the effect appears to be
significantly modified depending on the magnitude of adjacent waves on one or both
ADTP Adjacent DTP waves, i.e., two in immediate succesion. Period of approximately 1.256
years. The same comments re: period & shape apply. This implies a period of
significantly higher tidal influence causing increased solar activity.
IWHR A sequence of three intermediate wave high points successively increasing in magnitude.
A variant of this has the middle high point slightly lower that the outer two, but this
appears to have a similar influence. Both imply high and increasing tidal influence.
IWHF A sequence of three intermediate wave high points successively falling in magnitude.
This implies a low and decreasing tidal influence.
IWC A single relatively high IW with very low magnitude waves on either side. This implies a
period of particularly low tidal influence, conceptionally the inverse of ADTP.
IWLA A sequence of three IW low points, occurring above the lowest LW line in the plot. A
sequence with the centre low on or slightly below the low LW line may sometimes be
classified as this type of pattern. This sequence usually reinforces an IWHR sequence,
the resultant high tidal influence causing increased solar activity.
IWLB A sequence of three IW low points, occurring below the lowest LW line in the plot. It
implies a period of lower tidal influence. If occurring concurrent with an IWLF pattern it
further reduces the tidal influence. If occurring concurrent with an IWHR pattern it tends
to reduce the tidal influence.

  1. tallbloke says:

    Looking at Roy’s succession of 55 year cycles, it seems there is usually a big alignment spike on the downslope of the cycle from the next cycle number from the one aligned with solar max.. There is often a spike in sunspot activity on the downslope too. It might be interesting to check the proportional offset of the upspikes both in the solar cycle and alignment cycles to see how well they match.

  2. Roy Martin says:

    Just to throw a few points while people are absorbing what all this might mean, since they are very likely come up…

    The database extends back to 1600. I have plotted the 1650-1700 periods to make sure that the cycle R min times (as well as they are known) fit into the timing distribution shown in Figure 3., and they do.

    In the plots of the controversial cycle 3 and cycle 4 period, there is no indication of a ‘missed’ cycle. This also appears to apply over the full 400 year period. Both these cycles were early starters, but cycle 4. was quite long, so that the observed 4-5 R min preceded the mid low point of the 55 year wave by only 0.28. Right back in step.

    As regards the higher points on the sunspot count down slopes, careful observation of the index pattern reveals that they are associated with periods when the tidal influence is both higher and longer than the adjacent periods before and after.

  3. tallbloke says:

    Hi Roy, Thanks for the info regarding the downslope secondary peaks in solar activity. I’d be interested to see the 1600-1700 plot. Is there anything you can see in the VEJ planetary alignment data which might indicate a reason for the occurence of the Maunder Minimum?

  4. Roy Martin says:

    Roger, a tentative yes re: evidence of a cause for the Maunder minimum. During the rise period of Cycle -8 starting about 1654, and Cycle -7 starting about 1666, the minimum index values are unusually low. Unfortunately I have inadvertently deleted the 1675-1700 plot, and I will have to regenerate it, but I am pretty sure that it showed much the same characteristics.
    Expect to receive the 1650-1675 plot.

  5. tallbloke says:

    Thanks Roy, I’ve added the 1650-1675 plot to the main post.

  6. The following is a general comment; Usually these tides on the Sun are considered thinking them as projected on a plane, however, as the point is an abstraction so it is the circle and the line. What we always have, anywhere and wherever are spirals developing. So, when the circle abandons its plane it produces an spiral, that spiral if projected on a plane from the side could be represented as a sinus wave, and, if the “diameter” of that spiral is seen from an adequate distance we’ll se a “line”, really an also oscillating line. Thus we can see that, if the circle is divided into nine equal parts (an enneagram) we’ll see that it loses its “circleness” by moving away from the plane in three points, points where forces happen, and which could be represented by the inscribed equilateral triangle. Thus we have three points, or intervals, gaps of the musical octave, the law which represents how things happen in reality.

  7. Gray says:

    Thanks to Roy for the opportunity to assess this paper.

    A considerable undertaking the paper is extensive and thorough.

    The main thrust of the paper, the overlapping long wave features and short period features indicating maxima and minima within numerical parameters seem well founded. I would have liked more discussion on how the periods are comprised, whether JEV, JV, JE or EV.

    I’m glad the plot through the Maunder Period shows features that could be ascribed to the low sunspot activity of the period, it was a major concern.

    The predictive ability of the plot I think is interesting in terms of timing Rmax and Rmin more tightly than current methods. I would have liked to have seen an extended forward plot treated this way.

    The conclusion that JEV is a major factor in the solar activity cycle seems fair given the qualification that the descending and ascending Short Periods needs closer understanding.

    In the appendix there is a reference to the Fibonacci sequence though not extensive.

    My only concern would be that the study is seen to dismiss the potential influence of the other planets as I think their inclusion will be necessary in the fullest understanding of this process.

    Two questions.

    Have any calculations been made to identify long-term cycles of the VEJ sequence in the order of centuries or millennia?

    Is there any view on the June 2012 Venus transit’s effect on Rmax?

  8. Roy Martin says:

    Gray, thanks for what appears to be a well considered and supportive response.

    I did start to look at which alignments were associated with the significant events, but it is a fairly tedious task to examine so many points in time, even with the aid of a computer. Part of the answer may be found in a paper by Ian Wilson, who also worked on from the Hung paper. He has presented data which provides some insights into the alignments associated with solar maxima and minima. If you do not already have it, there is a pdf on my website at . Of particular relevance are his Fig.2a and 2b. Fig.2a shows that the alignment of Jupiter relative to Earth and Venus is at opposite phases in odd and even solar cycles. Fig.2b appears to be consistent with my observations that the minima are distributed roughly equally +/- from the mid low points of the 55 year waves.

    The calculated data already extends to 2050. However, the 2000 to 2025 plot has already entered the period which many speculate will become much cooler, almost to the likely date of SC25 Rmax, without looking in any way unusual. I will plot 2000-2025 for interest.

    The index as Hung defined it, and which I have used here, cuts a few corners. One obvious improvement is to include the influences of JEV at their correct relative values in the ratio of about 2:1:2, instead of 1:1:1. I have already done that over a part of the period. It does not alter any of the basic observations as regards timing, but at first sight it does improve the apparent relevance of the smaller intermediate waves at Rmax. The other is of course to look at the effect of Mercury, which is observed to be implicated in the formation of flares.

    More on you other points and questions later.

  9. Gray says:

    Roy – Thanks for the reply, I will check the Ian Wilson link.

  10. tallbloke says:

    Hi Roy,
    Many thanks for finding th time to answer questions here. I was looking at the database you sent me a copy of, and wondering if you did any work on integrating the fields enumerating the Solar torque and angular momentum into your analysis. I’m asking because I think it could be that the alignments of Jupiter, Earth and Venus might only be half the story. I think the effect of these planets, partly tidal, partly electromagnetic, might be modulating the timing and shape of the solar cycles, while the gas giants affect the overall amplitude of the cycles. If so, this would magnify the small differences of the JEV cycles during the grand minima such as the Maunder and Dalton. I’d appreciate your thoughts on these ideas.

  11. Tim Channon says:

    Question which is asked in this PDF

    Click to access ssn-1780-anomaly.pdf

    The plots at the head of the article do not cover that period.

    In Roy’s PDF is not in Table 1 or Table 2.

  12. tallbloke says:

    Tim, some people think there is a ‘maissing cycle’ in the very long tail end of SC4. Your analsis is interesting because it sees the phase switch early in that cycle. I still don’t see it myself though. I seem to recall Rob Bateman did an analysis of this and concluded it was just an exceptionally long cycle. It’s still interesting from the point of view of alignments though, because Desmoulins shows them getting out of kilter from the start of SC4.

  13. Tim Channon says:

    A closer look might be illuminating.

    Click to access ssn-detail-1780-event.pdf

  14. tallbloke says:

    Thanks Tim. Yes, a timing conflict seems an apt description. Gray covers this well on his main page at
    Perhaps the timing of the solar cycle generally follows the JEV cycle, but in exceptional circumstances the Jupiter-Saturn situation comes into play, abetted by Uranus and Neptune. That’s when the big minima occur. In this case, the Dalton Minimum. These exceptional gas giant configurations are likely linked to the small variations in the JEV cycles noted by Roy.

  15. Geoff Sharp says:

    tallbloke says:
    August 19, 2010 at 7:54 am

    Thanks Tim. Yes, a timing conflict seems an apt description. Gray covers this well on his main page at
    Perhaps the timing of the solar cycle generally follows the JEV cycle, but in exceptional circumstances the Jupiter-Saturn situation comes into play, abetted by Uranus and Neptune. That’s when the big minima occur.

    Maybe there are 2 unrelated planetary systems involved? One that modulates cycle strength and grand minima, another that determines cycle length.

  16. Gray says:

    Hi Geoff, I’m inclined to agree with there being two systems at play.

  17. tallbloke says:

    Geoff, yes, that’s what I was saying in a previous comment on this thread:

    I don’t think they are ‘unrelated’, though the mechanism may be different, AM in the case of the gas giants, EM in the case of the inner planets. Jupiter bats for both teams.

    I think Roy will be along to give us his view on this soon.

  18. Roy Martin says:

    There are specific comments that can be made in response to several of the recent posts. If you can all bear with me for a couple of days I should be able to get them up to a presentable form. A few general comments to go on with:-

    I have been looking at most aspects of the barycentric motion of the sun for about fifteen years now, going back as far as AD1200, but the more detail I tried draw out of it the less convinced I became that, over time, it showed any systematic relationship with the solar cycle. But tantalizingly close…

    The 1750-1800 period has been plotted. I will get it onto the post ASAP, but it shows pretty convincingly that there are no missed cycles, merely one very short and one very long in succession, in a way that is completely consistent with the rest of the Rmin timings. The excursion from ‘normal’ appears to have begun at 1784.7.

  19. Roy Martin says:

    Roger will insert the plot to which the previous notes apply shortly.

    [Reply] Hi Roy, I can’t add the image to your comment, so I’ve reposted the content of your reply to Tim with the graph below.

  20. tallbloke says:

    Roy’s response to Tim:

    Tim Channon says:
    August 18, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Question which is asked in this PDF…..

    alignment 1775
    The plot of the Index for the 1775-1800 period shows pretty clearly that there was no actual ‘missing’ cycle during that period. I saw discussions some years back about the possibility of observations during the period being suspect, but I understand that the issue has been extensively reviewed, and that the current sunspot data is correct. However cycle 3 is very short, about 9.3 years, and cycle 4 is officially about 13.5 years, and the question has always been: Why?

    For clarity I have marked all adjacent double tidal periods (ADTP) between 1775 and 1800 with heavy orange lines.

    The cycle 4-5 Rmin looks quite normal, with an ADTP 1.622 years before Rmin, and the Actual Rmin on or close to the next ADTP. The next ADTP is at the mid low point (MLP) of long wave No.2, and it is actually a toss up which is the true low, because cycle 5 does not increase rapidly until after that time, about 1800.2.

    Cycle 3 and cycle 4 both start relatively early, but it is most important to note that the actual start points coincide with a midpoint between ADTP’s and an ADTP respectively. Also, ADTP’s occur during both rise periods. In that respect they behaved quite consistently with observations throughout all periods so far examined. All cycles appear to have started either very close to a short period (SP) low, or midway in between two of them.

    The unusual behavior starts with the very high rate of rise of cycle 3, and the early peak. My observations suggest that, right through the record, the point of Rmax is not as closely tied to the influence of the planets as is Rmin. This needs more explanation than I have time for at the moment, but just briefly, Lief Svalgaard’s contention that Rmax is related to the strength of the polar field at the time of the previous reversal is most persuasive.

    Having said that much, you can probably fill in the rest of the sequence through to the end of cycle 4.

    An incidental observation here is that coincident with the points marked with widely spaced dotted orange lines the rate of rise or fall in the sunspot count appears to change more or less abruptly.

  21. Roy Martin says:

    That’s cool.

    We should add that the plot and rather wordy commentary is a response to Tim Channon’s question about the 1780 anomaly.

  22. Tim Channon says:

    Any reasonable fit of this oddity in the record sidesteps a nulling case. I raised it for obvious reasons, so whilst a lot of attention is given to the quiet spell afterwards the devil did I think occur earlier.

    Something I have not mentioned but did some time ago briefly pass in front of Leif is the approximate coincidence of a magnetic declination change for Greenwich. Leif considers there is no connection, which is fair enough without rather more actual evidence of a tight linkage earth/sun magnetically.

    Data on sunspot latitude might be telling. I wonder how may drawings of the sun exist from back then?

  23. […] the ~200 year de Vries Cycle. There are also a couple more lesser known ones. The 55.15 year cycle identified by Roy Martin, and the ~110 year cycle noted recently by Roger Andrews in his SST vs Air temperature […]

  24. […] the ~200 year de Vries Cycle. There are also a couple more lesser known ones. The 55.15 year cycle identified by Roy Martin, and the ~110 year cycle noted recently by Roger Andrews in his SST vs Air temperature analysis. […]

  25. […] Martin found a solar pattern repeating at 55.15 years over a longer term, giving an average cycle length of 11.03 years. This is […]

  26. tallbloke says:

    Of interest:

    A&A 497, 835-841 (2009)
    DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/200809582
    The global rotation of solar activity structures

    D. Heristchi and Z. Mouradian

    Observatoire de Paris, LESIA, 92195 Meudon, France
    e-mail: [Djamshid.Heristchi;Zadig.Mouradian]

    Received 15 February 2008 / Accepted 16 January 2009
    Aims. This paper investigates the rotation rate of solar activity from a global point of view, considering daily index or flux, instead of individual structures. It determines the rotation rate variations inside the cycle by two-year sequences and the comprehensive study of the cycle.
    Methods. The method consists of harmonic analysis of series of daily monitoring of solar activity. One is the sunspot number covering cycles 9 to 23 (over 157 years) and the second the flux of the corona at 2800 MHz from cycle 19 to 25 (over 53 years). These long series were analysed by the maximum entropy method for the measurement of rotation frequency.
    Results. The findings displayed in this paper are: i) sunspots and coronal flux show the same global rotation rates; ii) the solar rotation unfolding during the cycle is complex, without any systematic pattern; iii) the analysis of cyclic solar activity rotation leads to variation of the rotation rate with a period of 52.4 years; iv) the present result supports the existence of high-level cycles made of five eleven-year cycles; the global rotation rate also has this periodicity; v) no asymmetry was found in the northern and southern hemisphere rotation rates.