Late last year, scientists announced that out nearest star, the Sun, had started to show signs of increased activity and that a new solar cycle had started – the 25th since records began.

In this talk, solar physicist Professor Lucie Green will look into what drives the solar cycle, the regular pattern of activity our star goes through from slumber to turbulence, on average every 11 years. Delving deep beneath its visible surface she will explain the mechanisms within the Sun’s superheated sphere that drive these changes.

She’ll describe the signs that scientists look for in announcing the start of the new solar cycle, and the effect that this increased solar activity has on planet Earth and its inhabitants, picking out events from the solar record when the strong solar weather of previous solar cycles directly impacted life on Earth.

Also covered will be the missions observing the Sun from space, a fleet of spacecraft that includes the newly launched ESA Solar Orbiter and NASA Parker Solar Probe – the latter orbiting closer than ever before to the Sun’s seething surface and sending back spectacular insights into events such as solar flares and sunspots.

And there will also be a look ahead at whether it’s possible, at this early stage in solar cycle 25’s progress, to predict how strong a peak it will have and when it will be.

As always, you'll be able to submit your questions throughout the talk to be answered live in the second part of the presentation.

To buy a copy of Lucie's book, 15 Million Degrees: A Journey to the Centre of the Sun, click here - https://www.foxlanebooks.co.uk/product-page/15-million-degrees-a-journey-to-the-centre-of-the-sun
Thursday May 27, 2021, starting at 7:00 PM BST
Professor Lucie Green
Lucie Green is a Professor of Physics and a Royal Society University Research Fellow based at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, UCL’s Department of Space and Climate Physics, where she studies activity in the atmosphere of our nearest star, the Sun. She has a particular interest in looking at immense magnetic fields in the Sun’s atmosphere which sporadically erupt into the Solar System, and how they can drive major space weather events here on Earth.
Chris Bramley
Chris Bramley is the Editor of BBC Sky at Night Magazine. A journalist by training, he has been covering space and astronomy since 2005 and has headed up the magazine's editorial team since 2011.
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