Our Sun is acting oddly. Right now is meant to be the time when its activity is supposed to be at its peak – the solar maximum. Yet the Sun’s current activity is dormant, with barely any sunspots and only the odd flare, with solar physicists making analogies to the Maunder Minimum in the eighteenth century, when Europe was plunged into freezing winters. Alas, similar solar behaviour this time around will not be enough to mitigate climate change and increased global warming, but a drop off in solar activity could still have local affects, reduce the northern lights and provide a safer space environment for satellites and astronauts. The real question is, why is this happening to the Sun?
In her talk on Saturday, 8 February at European AstroFest this year, The Sky at Night presenter and solar physicist Dr Lucie Green will probe the mysteries of solar maximum, uncovering what makes the Sun tick, why it undergoes cycles of activity and what the future holds for our star.