The Sun follows the rhythm of the planets, says German research institute

Posted: May 29, 2019 by oldbrew in Cycles, research, Solar physics, solar system dynamics
Tags: ,

Main solar system planets [image credit: Wikipedia]

No s**t Sherlock! Numerous independent researchers, some featured at the Talkshop, have been working along such lines for years with little apparent recognition and even a certain amount of negative reaction (like this), let’s say.

H/T Miles Mathis

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HZDR press release of May 27, 2019: New study corroborates the influence of planetary tidal forces on solar activity.

One of the big questions in solar physics is why the Sun’s activity follows a regular cycle of 11 years. Researchers from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), an independent German research institute, now present new findings, indicating that the tidal forces of Venus, Earth and Jupiter influence the solar magnetic field, thus governing the solar cycle.

The team of researchers present their findings in the journal Solar Physics (doi: 10.1007/s11207-019-1447-1).

A pair of active regions of the Sun, observed by the Solar Dynamics Observatory in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light. The arches above the regions consist of charged particles spinning along and revealing the magnetic field lines.

In principle, it is not unusual for the magnetic activity of a star like the Sun to undergo cyclic oscillation. And yet past models have been unable to adequately explain the very regular cycle of the sun.

The HZDR research team has now succeeded in demonstrating that the planetary tidal forces on the Sun act like an outer clock, and are the decisive factor behind its steady rhythm.

To accomplish this result, the scientists systematically compared historical observations of solar activity from the last thousand years with planetary constellations, statistically proving that the two phenomena are linked. “There is an astonishingly high level of concordance: what we see is complete parallelism with the planets over the course of 90 cycles,” enthused Frank Stefani, lead author of the study. “Everything points to a clocked process.”

As with the gravitational pull of the Moon causing tides on Earth, planets are able to displace the hot plasma on the Sun’s surface. Tidal forces are strongest when there is maximum Venus-Earth-Jupiter alignment; a constellation that occurs every 11.07 years. But the effect is too weak to significantly perturb the flow in the solar interior, which is why the temporal coincidence was long neglected.

However, the HZDR researchers then found evidence of a potential indirect mechanism that may be able to influence the solar magnetic field via tidal forces: oscillations in the Tayler instability, a physical effect that, from a certain current, can change the behavior of a conductive liquid or of a plasma. Building on this concept, the scientists developed their first model in 2016; they have since advanced this model in their new study to present a more realistic scenario.

Small trigger with a major impact: tides utilize instability

In the hot plasma of the Sun, the Tayler instability perturbs the flux and the magnetic field, itself reacting very sensitively to tiny forces. A small thrust of energy is enough for the perturbations to oscillate between right-handed and left-handed helicity (the projection of the spin onto the direction of momentum). The momentum required for this may be induced by planetary tidal forces every eleven years – ultimately also setting the rhythm at which the magnetic field reverses the polarity of the Sun.

“When I first read about ideas linking the solar dynamo to planets, I was very skeptical,” Stefani recalled. “But when we discovered the current-driven Tayler instability undergoing helicity oscillations in our computer simulations, I asked myself: What would happen if the plasma was impacted on by a small, tidal-like perturbation? The result was phenomenal. The oscillation was really excited and became synchronized with the timing of the external perturbation.”

Solar dynamo with an added touch

In the standard scenario of a dynamo, the rotation of the Sun and the complex motion of the solar plasma create a cyclically changing magnetic field. Two effects interact here: the plasma rotates more quickly at the Sun’s equator than at the poles. This leads to the omega effect: the magnetic field lines frozen in the plasma stretch around the Sun and convert the magnetic field into a field aligned almost parallel to the Sun’s equator. The alpha effect describes a mechanism that twists magnetic field lines, forcing the magnetic field back into a north-south direction.

What exactly causes the alpha effect, however, is a subject of dispute. Stefani’s model indicates that the Tayler instability is partly responsible for this.

The researchers consider the most plausible scenario to be one in which a classic solar dynamo is combined with the modulations excited by the planets. “Then the Sun would be a completely ordinary, older star whose dynamo cycle, however, is synchronized by the tides,” summarized Stefani. “The great thing about our new model is that we are now easily able to explain effects that were previously difficult to model, such as ‘false’ helicities, as observed with sunspots, or the well-known double peak in the Sun’s activity curve.”

Besides influencing the 11-year cycle, planetary tidal forces may also have other effects on the Sun. For example, it is also conceivable that they change the stratification of the plasma in the transition region between the interior radiative zone and the outer convection zone of the Sun (the tachocline) in such a way that the magnetic flux can be conducted more easily. Under those conditions, the magnitude of activity cycles could also be changed, as was once the case with the Maunder Minimum, when there was a strong decline in solar activity for a longer phase.

In the long term, a more precise model of the solar dynamo would help scientists to quantify climate-relevant processes such as space weather more effectively, and perhaps even to improve climate predictions one day.

The new model calculations also mean that, besides tidal forces, potentially other, hitherto neglected mechanisms would have to be integrated into the solar dynamo theory, mechanisms with weak forces that can nevertheless – as researchers now know – have a major impact. To be able to investigate this fundamental question in the laboratory, too, the researchers are currently setting up a new liquid metal experiment at HZDR.

  1. oldbrew says:

    past models have been unable to adequately explain the very regular cycle of the sun

    The cycle itself is regular, but its duration – not so much.

  2. pochas94 says:

    So, now can we expect accurate climate projections?

  3. JB says:

    “advanced model,.. new study,.. realistic scenario…” So if the previous model was unrealistic, what does that indicate about the efficacy of their ideas?

    “astonishingly high level of concordance” Only to those who have had their attention elsewhere.

    “the omega effect: the magnetic field lines frozen in the plasma” Well that’s part of what is unrealistic in their model, that such things as field lines exist, and that they can become frozen (in an environment hotter than any we know of???). Where magnetism is concerned, the phrase “Field Lines” is an oxymoron. I doubt that surveyors/cartographers claim there really are lines in the fields they map.

    “In the long term, a more precise model of the solar dynamo would help” Now this POV just reveals how ridiculous their thinking is. A better grasp of the underlying physical behavior, stripped of erroneous ideas will be far more effective than perpetual model revision built on them. As is usual, research staff because of their built in inertia are the last to figure out whats happening.

  4. oldbrew says:

    From the authors’ article:
    Specifically, we focus on the 11.07-years alignment periodicity of the tidally dominant planets Venus, Earth, and Jupiter, whose persistent synchronization with the solar dynamo is briefly touched upon. The typically emerging dynamo modes are dipolar fields, oscillating with a 22.14-years period or pulsating with a 11.07-years period, but also quadrupolar fields with corresponding periodicities.
    – – –
    Sounds oddly familiar… 😉

    Ian Wilson: How planets could be modulating solar activity – The VEJ Torquing Model
    Posted: April 29, 2013

  5. tallbloke says:

    Good that our solar-planetary theory is attracting more research effort. Even if they won’t give us recognition for it. History will rectify that, because once I’ve helped win Brexit, I’ll write it.

  6. p.g.sharrow says:

    I see some good science from following the clues left by observations of reality, overlain with a lot of techno-babble to patch over their ignorance. The Tallbloke says; “History will rectify that, because once I’ve helped win Brexit, I’ll write it.” My guess is, you still have time to correct their ignorance.

    Plasma is not a net generator of energy, you will have to look deeper for that…pg

  7. oldbrew says:

    Specifically, we focus on the 11.07-years alignment periodicity of the tidally dominant planets Venus, Earth, and Jupiter, whose persistent synchronization with the solar dynamo is briefly touched upon

    Are they suggesting a third force causing both periodicities?

  8. dai davies says:

    Do they mention electromagnetic influences?

    I discussed this in my Energy and Atmosphere Revisited article:

    “The cyclic nature of solar surface activity – sunspots and flares – has been controversial, particularly since planetary orbits have been invoked as a cause. The most obvious example is the approximately 11 year Schwabe cycle clearly seen in the short-term sunspot data of Figure 13. This aligns with the orbital period of Jupiter.
    An argument against this view is that the gravitational forces of the planets are too weak at the Sun’s surface to cause tidal effects. But this ignores electromagnetic forces and resonance. Just as the movement of a child’s swing can be built up with many small pushes, the electromagnetic planetary influences acting as dynamos can promote resonances in the circulating plasmas of the Sun’s outer layers shown in Figure 18.
    Gravitation asserts a general tug on all matter equally. The effect of magnetic fields on a highly charged plasma is specific and differential. It acts in opposite directions on negatively charged electrons and positive ions, and generates electrical currents or influences existing ones generated by the Sun’s own complex intrinsic magnetic fields driven by the thermal roiling of the convective zone.

    Figure 18: The outer convective zone of the Sun and possible circulation models

    Figure 18a is a schematic representation. The original data it’s based on (13) suggests less regular motion. Strong eddies will be formed in the boundaries between these regions acting as localised dynamos creating intense pockets of magnetic force which are relieved by exiting the surface as huge loops that return to the surface (the prominence in Figure 18b), or escape into the solar system as flares.

    Figure 19: Regular movement of sunspot zones toward the Sun’s equator

    Figure 19 shows the dominant 11 year periodicity of sunspots. It also demonstrates a spatial order, with sunspots migrating from around 30˚ latitude towards the equator over each cycle. The roughly 120 year cycle of Figure 14 can be seen in the varying magnitude of the 11 year cycle over the displayed period. The more robust model that produced Figure 15 suggests that this is a product of the 200 year DeVries cycle and the quasi-millennial Eddy cycle. These and other cycles have been identified in long term proxies for solar activity. “

  9. craigm350 says:

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    🤔 It’s always interesting when “peripheral’ ideas cross the Rubicon:

    We thank Willie Soon for pointing out the importance of mid-term fluctuations, and for valuable comments on the Sun–star connection problem.

    The paper is funded by the EU

  10. Chaeremon says:

    Academic plagiarism in Germany is a matter of otherwise jobless academics “shadow unemployed population outside of governmental statistics reports” for whom several “funds” are provided by many ministries of the German government, see e.g.

    If you plan to show their plagiarism, provides tools for text comparison.

  11. Isn’t this how Weather Action have been getting accurate long range forecasts, so what’s new

  12. Tallbloke,

    Stefani has actually gone out of his way to acknowledge some of those that have contributed to the VEJ model, although it is an understatement to stay that he has fallen a bit short of the mark of acknowledging the long-standing claims of many here at the Workshop.

    He is a theoretician by nature, and so he is relatively unaware of the work that has been done by many of us here who are associated with the Workshop. I have been in contact with him and he is open to adding future attributions to anyone who has made a substantial contribution to the VEJ theory. I believe that we need to give him some slack, as there are many forces aligned against the acceptance of the VEJ model and he (and his group) are probably our best chance of winning over the wider scientific community.

    One minor historical irony that makes me laugh is that Willie Soon rejected my initial VEJ model paper when I submitted it to the New Astronomy Journal in [March?] 2008 [Willie was the Chief Editor of New Astronomy]. I might dig up his rejection letter and send it to him with a copy of Stefani et al. 2019 paper, just for a bit of fun.

    I did not become aware of Hung’s 2007 NASA [non-peer reviewed] report until about a month before I submitted my paper to New Astronomy for peer-review. This means that I came across VEJ model independently of his work. Despite this, as a good scientist, I acknowledged his publication in my final submission. My paper was actually written by October-November 2007 and submitted to the New Astronomy (peer-reviewed) Journal in early 2008 where it was rejected for publication. It was resubmitted to the (peer-reviewed) PASP Journal in 2009 where it was again rejected. The papers rejection by New Astronomy and PASP left me a little depressed for a while. Eventually, however, I placed the paper on the General Science Journal web site in 2010. They did not date it as being published until 2011:

    Do Periodic Peaks in the Planetary Tidal Forces Acting Upon the Sun Influence the Sunspot Cycle?


    A parameter that is indicative of the peak planetary tidal forces acting upon the Sun i.e. changes in the alignment of Jupiter, at the time of inferior and superior conjunctions of Venus and Earth, naturally exhibits characteristics that either mimic or replicate five of the main properties of the solar cycle. These properties include: the Schwabe cycle; the Hale cycle; the Gnevyshev−Ohl rule; the extended solar cycle; and the sunspot cycle’s inherent memory. This result strongly supports the proposal by Hung (2007) that the solar sunspot cycle is being influenced by variations in the planetary tidal forces acting upon the Sun. This conclusion is supported by the fact that over the last thousand years, every time the peak planetary tidal forces acting upon the Sun are at their weakest, there has been a period of very low solar activity known as a Grand Solar minimum. The current tidal forces acting upon the Sun indicate that the activity level on the Sun is either in the early stages of an Oort−like minimum that will last from 2005−2045, or it is about halfway through a period of high solar activity similar to the Medieval Maximum. We believe that evidence pointing towards a significant decrease in the level of sunspot activity in the upcoming solar cycles favours the former conclusion.

    This paper was in addition to a 2008 paper that I submitted to the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, with Brad Carter and Ian Waite.

    Wilson, I.R.G., Carter, B.D., and Waite, I.A., 2008, Does a Spin-Orbit Coupling Between the Sun and the Jovian Planets Govern the Solar Cycle? Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia,
    2008, 25, 85 – 93.


    We present evidence to show that changes in the Sun’s equatorial rotation rate are synchronized with changes in its orbital motion about the barycentre of the Solar System. We propose that this synchronization is indicative of a spin–orbit coupling mechanism operating between the Jovian planets and the Sun. However, we are unable to suggest a plausible underlying physical cause for the coupling. Some researchers have proposed that it is the period of the meridional flow in the convective zone of the Sun that controls both the duration and strength of the Solar cycle. We postulate that the overall period of the meridional flow is set by the level of disruption to the flow that is caused by changes in Sun’s equatorial rotation speed. Based on our claim that changes in the Sun’s equatorial rotation rate are synchronized with changes in the Sun’s orbital motion about
    the barycentre, we propose that the mean period for the Sun’s meridional flow is set by a Synodic resonance between the flow period (∼22.3 yr), the overall 178.7-yr repetition period for the solar orbital motion, and the 19.86-yr synodic period of Jupiter and Saturn.

  13. Brett Keane says:

    Fancy, Rog is getting all Churchillian. Must be in the air….. Go Brexit and great to see some serious solar physics again. Good Luck All. Brett Keane, NZ

  14. oldbrew says:

    “The result was phenomenal. The oscillation was really excited and became synchronised with the timing of the external perturbation.”


  15. Paul Vaughan says:

    Sun Mask

    No.1 can C 39-suggestions R well-hidden.

  16. Ulric Lyons says:

    Tallbloke writes:
    “Good that our solar-planetary theory is attracting more research effort. Even if they won’t give us recognition for it.”

    Your theory? You adopted the JEV cycle, and you adopted the Uranus component without giving me due credit for it.

    [Reply] you were part of the crew I refer to. Shame your denigration of others led to your exclusion from this site.

  17. Ulric Lyons says:

    “[Reply] you were part of the crew I refer to. Shame your denigration of others led to your exclusion from this site.”

    Roger, you initiated the denigration by saying that I had dispensed with physics and used anecdotal temperature records. With my findings of the ordering of sunspot cycles and centennial minima, and with the Jovian ordering of major heat and cold waves at specific t-squares, I have no doubt that I have exposed a previously unknown celestial physics. I don’t actually need a crew, especially one that insists that I amalgamate my findings with their postulates. I never was part of your crew, I never intended to be, it is of no benefit to me, I was merely sharing my unique findings.

    [Reply] I said I thought you needed to do a thorough statistical study to make your findings more robust. If you regard that as denigration, I can’t help further. TB

  18. Ulric Lyons says:

    I have already made it clear how you were denigrating. The correlations are robust so that wasn’t helpful.

    [Reply] Easy to say. Still waiting for the demonstration of the correlations though.