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The Magnetic Sun

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Our Sun, and most other stars, is not just a ball pf plasma in turbulent motion, but is permeated by magnetic fields on a wide variety of scales. While everyone is familiar with the atmospheric manifestations of magnetic activity, for example solar prominences and the corona, these are in fact reflections of the very complex field structures deeper down. The most important feature of these structures is the 22-year sunspot cycle, which is believed to be driven by electromagnetic induction due to the turbulent motions of the plasma. The cycle has been observed for hundreds of years but is still not satisfactorily explained. I will discus the nature of the cycle, the theories for its existence, and other aspects of solar magnetic activity, including some historical commentary.

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Astronomical Society (CUAS) series.

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