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IISER have Developed a Data-driven Method to Study the Changes in the Sun Cycle

Data-driven Method For Predict Sun's Activity: The sun has a profound effect on the earth's climate and living conditions. And so it is essential to study the sun's solar activities.

Sun Cycle

Now a team of scientists at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata have developed a way to predict the sun's activity over the coming decades, which could help to prepare against solar storms, which impact Earth weather conditions.


The sun is the heart of our solar system. It is a hot ball of glowing gases like hydrogen and helium, the gravity of the sun holds the solar system together including the planets. The sun has an activity cycle in which it generates electric currents in the sun.

These electric currents generate a magnetic field. The magnetic field is the area around an object in which molecules are uniquely arranged so that the electrons spin in the same direction. This arrangement of atoms creates two poles in a magnet, a north-seeking pole and south seeking pole.

The sun's magnetic field goes through a cycle called a solar cycle. Every 11 years or so, The sun's magnetic field completely flips. This means that the sun's north and South Poles switch places, then it takes about another 11 years for the sun's North and South Poles to flip back again.

Study the Changes in the Sun Cycle

The solar cycle effects activity on the surface of the sun such as sunspots, which are spots that appears from time to time on the sun's surface. Sunspots appear dark in contrast to its surroundings and are caused by Sun's magnetic fields. As the magnetic fields change, So do the sunspots on the sun's surface.

Now predicting the sunspot cycle is challenging. Astronomers have observed sunspots on the surface of the Sun fo or nearly 400 years. We are currently in the 24th Sunspot Cycle. Now a team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Kolkata have developed a way of predicting the intensity of activity in the next Sunspot Cycle using data spread over the last hundred years.

Scientists at ISSER Kolkata have come out with a prediction for the upcoming Sunspot Cycle which reveals the expected conditions in space over the next decade. The scientists suggest that the sun's activity would not dip during the next cycle, but it would be similar to the current cycle perhaps even stronger.

The scientists have developed a data-driven method to study the changes in the Sun cycle. Studying the data from 1913 to 2016 the team predicts that the next Sunspot Cycle will start about a year after the end of the current cycle and peak in 2024.

The research was supported by the Indian ministry of human resource development and National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA. The data-driven method developed by scientists at IISER Kolkata will now help to predict the fluctuations of the solar activity much more reliably.