Sun's magnetic field is flip flopping

6:02 AM, Dec 6, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - Try this one on for size - our sun's north and south poles are about to flip-flop. That's right, if you were near the sun and had your compass pointed north, the dial would actually swing south.

About every 11 years, the sun reaches the peak of its solar cycle called solar maximum, which we will reach soon. 

That peak is typically characterized by an increase in sunspots and solar activity like solar flares and coronal mass ejections. 

All that activity of solar max is driven by a strange magnetic phenomenon - the north and south poles swap places. But there's no reason to worry. 

The magnetic fields of stars and planets often change and in fact, Earth's north and south poles have traded places many times throughout history, though that tends to happen on the order of tens of millions of years.

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