Scientists say our sun is in a midlife crisis. Should we worry? There is a chance that this will affect the life of earthlings, but about everything in order.
A team of astronomers set out to describe the uniqueness of a star named the Sun. They used data from a four-year observation of the outer space of the Keppler telescope and astrometric data from the Gaia apparatus to measure brightness changes in 369 solar-type stars with approximately the same properties as the Sun (mass, temperature, composition). Then, they compared the results with data on the Sun and found that other stars are on average five times more active than the Sun! How can this be?
Solar activity partially depends on the magnetic field of the star. This means that changes in magnetic fields lead to fluctuations in its brightness. There is a phenomenon called the “solar dynamo.” Its essence is that every 11 years the Sun goes through a cyclic process, during which the north and south magnetic poles change places. By the end of the cycle, solar activity is increasing and it is releasing more energy into space in the form of solar flares. Other stars also go through this cycle, but it takes from 3 to 8 years, which means that periods of high activity occur much more often.
The answer to the question “Why does this process take so long for us?” scientists have not yet. But there are versions of what is happening, and two at once. And both about age.
First – our Sun is not so active. This implies that other stars are simply at a different life stage, which means that the Sun can become just as active at one point. In this case, in the near future, somewhere between the next 10,000 and 10,000,000 years, the periods of the solar dynamo will decrease, the star’s activity will increase and numerous solar flares will begin to disrupt the work of terrestrial electronics and orbital technology. Earthlings of the future were unlucky, and we were afraid of a clash with Andromeda …
The second – our Sun is ALREADY not so active. In this case, scientists say that the Sun is undergoing a “midlife crisis”. Our star is about 4.5 billion years old, and this is almost the middle of her life’s journey. Perhaps such a decrease in activity by the middle of life is quite normal for the Sun, as it is normal for people. It is also logical that collecting data about other stars exclusively by the light that reaches us, we see them younger than they are now. So the rest of the stars captured by the study will have to survive the same crisis in the future.
One way or another, the researchers have achieved their goal: no one now has doubts that the Sun is special.