William sent in the link to https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/solar-maximum-could-hit-us-070000837.html … solar maximum is associated with the Sun’s magnetic field becoming tangled, and eventually it reverses polarity. Solar activity at maximum is marked by lots of sun spots and CMEs, of varying size and strength. Earth, at this time, is bombarded by solar storms that can affect communications etc. This is what has been happening over the last few months – getting more and more excitable as the Sun becomes more entangled. That is the general idea of what is happening – but other factors may be at play. What the article is focussed on is that the Sun was due to peak in 2025. It now looks like it will be somewhat before that – possibly at the end of this year .
At solar minimum the Sun’s magnetic field is strong and organised with two clear poles like a normal dipole magnet. The Sun’s magnetic field also acts as a force field that contains the Sun’s superheated plasma, or ionised gas, close to the surface, and therefore suppressing solar activity. However, the Sun’s magnetic field slowly gets tangled, with some regions becoming more magnetised than others. As a result, this tends to weaken the magnetic field and solar activity is able to ramp up. Plasma rises from the Sun’s surface and forms massive magnetised horseshoes known as coronal loops. These pepper the Sun’s lower atmosphere. As the magnetic field snaps and realigns it releases bright flashes of light and radiation. That is the theory – but not necessarily the reality. These bright flashes are in effect solar flares – and one may note a similarity with bright flashes issuing from the heart of galaxies and picked up by humans via space telescopes. These are known as coronal mass ejections [of plasma], better known as CMEs. These are produced by huge solar flares. Every flare is not a CME it should be noted, but the really big ones are classified by that terminology. CMEs bring magnetised clouds of fast moving particles. After maximum is reached , and the magnetic field flips over, the cycle gradually dies down – back to solar minimum.