Are planets setting the Sun’s pace? 

Posted: October 4, 2016 by oldbrew in Solar physics, solar system dynamics

Variation in solar activity during a recent sunspot cycle [credit: Wikipedia]

Variation in solar activity during a recent sunspot cycle [credit: Wikipedia]

Here we are told that ‘Researchers…are putting forward a new theory’ which may be amusing to Talkshop regulars and others who have been discussing and investigating such matters for years, but – better late than never for the rest of the science world!

The Sun’s activity is determined by the Sun’s magnetic field. Two combined effects are responsible for the latter: The omega and the alpha effect. Exactly where and how the alpha effect originates is currently unknown.

Researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) are putting forward a new theory for this in the journal Solar Physics. Their calculations suggest that tidal forces from Venus, the Earth and Jupiter can directly influence the Sun’s activity.

Many questions regarding the Sun’s magnetic field are still unanswered. “As with the Earth, we are dealing with a dynamo. Through self-excitation, a magnetic field is created from virtually nothing, whereby the complex movement of the conductive plasma serves as an energy source,” says the physicist Dr. Frank Stefani from HZDR.

The Sun’s so-called alpha-omega dynamo is subject to a regular cycle. Approximately every eleven years the polarity of the Sun’s magnetic field is reversed, with solar activity peaking with the same frequency.

This manifests itself in an increase in sunspots — dark patches on the Sun’s surface which originate from strongly concentrated magnetic fields. “Interestingly, every 11.07 years, the Sun and the planets Venus, the Earth and Jupiter are aligned. We asked ourselves: Is it a coincidence that the solar cycle corresponds with the cycle of the conjunction or the opposition of the three planets?” ponders Stefani.

Although this question is by no means new, up to now scientists could not identify a plausible physical mechanism for how the very weak tidal effects of Venus, the Earth and Jupiter could influence the Sun’s dynamo.
Talkshop comment: Unless they came across some of Ian Wilson’s research perhaps?

Strengthening through resonance
“If you only just give a swing small pushes, it will swing higher with time,” as Frank Stefani explains the principle of resonance. He and his team discovered in recent calculations that the alpha effect is prone to oscillations under certain conditions. “The impulse for this alpha-oscillation requires almost no energy. The planetary tides could act as sufficient pace setters for this.”

The so-called Tayler instability plays a crucial role for the resonance of the Sun’s dynamo. It always arises when a strong enough current flows through a conductive liquid or a plasma. Above a certain strength, the interaction of the current with its own magnetic field generates a flow — in the case of the colossal Sun, a turbulent one.

It is generally understood that the solar dynamo relies on the interaction of two induction mechanisms. Largely undisputed is the omega effect, which originates in the tachocline. This is the name of a narrow band between the Sun’s inner radiative zone and the outer areas in which convection takes place, where heat is transported using the movement of the hot plasma. In the tachocline, various, differentially rotating areas converge. This differential rotation generates the so-called toroidal magnetic field in the form of two “life belts” situated north and south of the solar equator.

[Talkshop note: see link below for further details]

Full report: Are planets setting the sun’s pace? — ScienceDaily

  1. RJ Salvador says:

    Shockingly WUWT is discussing this subject. The planets influencing the sun. Imagine that!

  2. oldbrew says:

    In the link given above Ian Wilson himself acknowledges the ongoing work of a number of other researchers, some of them Talkshop contributors themselves.

    RJ: no comment 😎

  3. oldbrew says:

    Stating the obvious but solar cycles are variable in length and hardly ever close to 11.07 years, even if that is close to the calculated mean or average.

  4. JB says:

    “Through self-excitation, a magnetic field is created from virtually nothing,…”
    Now that is science, par excellence.

    “The impulse for this alpha-oscillation requires almost no energy.”
    If only us ham radio operators could acquire such a mechanism!

    Still, it is progress of sorts, by & by.

  5. wiltonaroberts says:

    Was Landscheidt right?

  6. oldbrew says:

    JB: imagine if a mere blogger proposed such things…

    Related: the BBC looks at the life of Annie Maunder in ‘Chasing the Sun: The woman forgotten by science’

    “I think the name Maunder is there and we have all rather forgotten that that’s two people,” says Dr Sue Bowler, editor of the Royal Astronomical Society magazine, Astronomy and Geophysics.

  7. Paul Vaughan says:

    “[…] oscillating back and forth between right- and left-handedness. What is special about this is that the reversal happens with virtually no change to the flow energy.”

  8. Paul Vaughan says:

    Synchronized helicity oscillations: a link between planetary tides and the solar cycle?

  9. Thanks Paul, research at publicly funded Universities should be available free of cost to anyone.

  10. oldbrew says:

    ‘Finally, in the framework of a reduced, zero-dimensional alpha–Omega dynamo model we recover a 22.14-year cycle of the solar dynamo.’

    The question of variable solar cycle lengths remains e.g. only 3 of the last 10 solar cycles exceeded 10.5 years, compared to a theoretical figure of 11.07 years.

  11. Paul Vaughan says:

    RJ wrote: “Shockingly WUWT is discussing this subject.”

    No. They fool with headlines to bait victims in for brainwashing and harassment. Lewcs & Lewcifer. Same evil as ever. Evil same as ever.

    Once I looked at the pdf I realized we’ve already discussed this paper at the Talkshop.

  12. Curious George says:

    I like nice theories. It is also important to remember the scale of things. In a Solar system model to scale in Perth, WA, the diameter of the Sun is 30 cm, the Earth is 3 mm big, and it is 30 m away. The distance to Pluto is 1.2 km.

  13. Nicola Scafetta says:

    More and more people are being attracted by the planetary theory of solar and climate variations. This does not surprise me at all because this is the only theory that actually appear to be working.

    As written in my latest work on the Hallstatt oscillation herein discussed in another post, critics do not have any alternative theory that can explain the observed solar and climatic oscillations.

    The Venus, Earth Jupiter effect herein discussed has been also discussed previously by others such as Wilson and myself for example in

    Scafetta, N., 2012. Does the Sun work as a nuclear fusion amplifier of planetary tidal forcing? A proposal for a physical mechanism based on the mass-luminosity relation. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 81-82, 27-40.

    where a proposed physical mechanism is also developed. Also here a detailed discussion on related issues is provided

    Scafetta, N., and R. C. Willson, 2013. Empirical evidences for a planetary modulation of total solar irradiance and the TSI signature of the 1.09-year Earth-Jupiter conjunction cycle. Astrophysics and Space Science 348, 25-39.

    However, it may be misleading to look just at the Venus, Earth Jupiter effect. Also Jupiter and Saturn produce an 11-year like oscillation and there are other combinations. See my Hallstatt paper. [link to related Talkshop post].

  14. wyzelli says:

    If you add the planetary effects on the sun, and the planetary and lunar effects on earth, particularly tides, ocean currents, QBO, ENSO you have an apparently very chaotic system, however one that is experiencing numerous influences of regular but varying strength and direction, plus a number of secondary effects which themselves may be hard to distinguish from the root causes. I doubt any single factor could ever adequately explain what happens here.

  15. hunter says:

    Congratulations on being vindicated, even if not in the public way you deserve.

  16. ulric lyons says:

    The timing of each sunspot maximum can be plotted very closely by when the inferior conjunctions of Earth and Venus are in closer syzygy with Uranus, and in even numbered cycles with Jupiter roughly in syzygy with Uranus, and in odd numbered cycles with Jupiter roughly in quadrature with Uranus. When the Ju-Ea-Ve triplet slips enough out of sync with Uranus is when a solar minimum occurs, the triplet then do a similar progression with Neptune instead of Uranus for remainder of the solar minimum until they can physically gain the original sync with Uranus again. Which is why there are a couple of very short solar cycles in Maunder, because the Ju-Ea-Ve triplet return faster to Neptune than to Uranus. Thereby one can plot every solar minimum start date and duration, and the timing of most sunspot maxima to within a year. Anyone with TheSky or Alcyone astronomy software can easily confirm this, ideally at 291.961 day steps fixed to the Earth-Venus syzygies.

  17. tallbloke says:

    Paul: the WUWT wankers can’t stop an idea whose time has come.

  18. tom0mason says:

    It would appear that this work compliments what the research team from Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and led by Professor Valentina Zharkova demonstrated with their models. Progress indeed.

  19. oldbrew says:

    “We found magnetic wave components appearing in pairs, originating in two different layers in the Sun’s interior. They both have a frequency of approximately 11 years, although this frequency is slightly different, and they are offset in time. Over the cycle, the waves fluctuate between the northern and southern hemispheres of the Sun. Combining both waves together and comparing to real data for the current solar cycle, we found that our predictions showed an accuracy of 97%,” said Zharkova.

    Isolating the cause(s) of the two frequencies would be more than handy.

  20. JB says:

    Perhaps it is a bad habit of mine (thanks to the department head who taught my DC theory course), but I’m a stickler for people using appropriate words in communicating. Zharkova could have used a better concatenation of words than “magnetic wave components” (although the error could well have been the journalist’s). Euphemisms have a tendency to obfuscate rather than elucidate. It is difficult to extend credibility to a person’s research if, after reading through their findings, the chief thought in mind is : Does the author know what (s)he is talking about?

    Does a person have to be a solar expert to understand the phrase “alpha-omega dynamo”, or “alpha-oscillation”? What are they suggesting conceptually when saying TIDAL forces of V/E/J impact the sun’s magnetic field? My thinking is if they cleared up their conceptual model (i.e., pay attention to the real behavior of magnetic fields), the source(s) of the apparent frequencies would manifest.

    What is really inexcusable (however seemingly trivial) is this persistent association of degrees with the Kelvin scale. Somebody at the SOHO website (referenced in the RAS article) is not “minding the store.”


  21. Paul Vaughan says:

    “Paul: the WUWT wankers can’t stop an idea whose time has come.”

    Roger: US infighting right now is intense, bitter, and intractable. They literally do not care about truth. They care only about maintaining power and they will go double-or-nothing-every-time-no-matter-what. It’s the mindset of a problem gambler. The longer the US bluff endures, the more damage it will do to global stability. If we do not position ourselves with great care we will be the mouse stepped on by the wounded elephant.

    I dropped a new JEV tip on S-22.