This combination of images and artist’s impression shows changes in the Sun’s appearance and magnetic fields during part of the solar cycle. The Sun’s magnetic field flips approximately every 11 years, defining this cycle. The switch happens around at the maximum peak of magnetic activity, when sunspot and flare activity reaches its peak. We show images of the Sun captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) obtained on 10th October 2010 (solar minimum), 25th December 2013 (solar maximum) and on 25th June 2017 (solar minimum), combined with artist's impressions to show the magnetic field of the Sun.
Images: NASA/SDO/A. Strugarek et al; Illustrations: L. Almeida, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Brazil