The Solar Cycle

Like Earth, the Sun has seasons. More precisely, it has a cycle that lasts about 11 years. In this sequence of images of X-rays from the Sunís corona, notice how the corona changes from solar maximum (left side) to solar minimum (right side). The bright areas are called active regions, where intense magnetic fields trap hot plasma.

More information: For additional information on current and past solar cycles, try these links.

  The Space Weather Center is part of the National Space Weather Program, with funding provided by NASA and the National Science Foundation.  

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