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Washington Voices

Randy Mann: Solar storms increasing, and sun’s polarity appears to be flipping

Our sun continues to be in the active phase of its 11-year cycle.

In October, it appeared that the sun was coming out of its active phase. During that time, the number of sunspots were mostly in the 50s and 60s – a relatively low number, especially compared to the last active phase in the late 1990s when there were an average of 200 storms on the sun per day. But from Oct. 6 through Nov. 19, solar storms have been averaging more than 100 per day and on Nov. 17, there were 282 solar storms.

It also appears that the sun’s polarity is flipping. This is something that happens once every 11 years. If this were to happen on Earth, magnetic north would become magnetic south.

The change in the sun’s polarity usually means higher solar activity. But the change in polarity does not relate to the increased number of solar flares. And, the sun’s change should not harmfully impact our planet. In fact, the only noticeable effect here is a boost in the Northern Lights.

Next week, I’ll talk about the chances for a white Christmas. Happy Thanksgiving!

Contact Randy Mann at wxmann, or go to www.longrange for additional information.

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