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The Electric Sun-Earth Connection

Earth has an electric connection to the Sun. We know this because Auroras at the poles of our planet are electric phenomena, and they flare up whenever there’s a solar storm. The more intense the flaring, the more intense are the Auroras.

Electric winds and storms

The most spectacular case of this ever recorded was the so called Carrington Event of 1859. It resulted in fantastic Auroras, and a great deal of damage to telegraph lines as well as powerlines. The solar flare was clearly electrical in nature.

We have since learned that there’s a steady stream of charged particles emitted by the Sun, mostly electrons and protons. Solar flares are in other words like storms in an otherwise stable environment.

Magnetic field reversals

The electric connection between our Sun and our planet is never broken. But it’s not hardwired either. We know this because our Sun’s magnetic field flips 180° every 11 years, and this type of reversal almost never happens on Earth. So, our planet’s electric characteristics must be at least somewhat independent of our Sun.

Furthermore, the Sun’s magnetic reversals indicate that it’s under the influence of a alternating rather than direct current.

Birkeland currents

This leads us to the assumption that our Sun is externally powered by a Birkeland current. If our Sun’s magnetic field reverts every 11 years, so must the Birkeland current. However, this is not a problem, because Birkeland currents do in fact encompass counterrotations and reversals.

Birkeland currents are made up of concentric tubes of electric plasma that oscillate at relatively steady frequencies. If our Sun is moving along such a current, periodic field reversals is exactly what we’d expect.

But how is it that our Sun’s energy output remains pretty much unaffected by all of this? If our Sun is externally powered, it must mean that the current feeding it is steady as well. Yet, we have magnetic field reversals happening every 11 years with hardly any change to its output.


The answer to this is that Birkeland currents are multilayered. The overall energy supply is therefore the sum of multiple layers of various current flows, and these layers are distributed in such a way that the energy transmitted by any cross section adds up to pretty much the same number no matter how you slice it.

The Sun forms a node in the Birkeland current, known as a z-pinch. So, multiple layers of the Birkeland current are pulled in towards our Sun. Each layer provides its own energy input, sometimes strong and sometimes weak. But taken together, the input is steady.

Turbulence and flaring

This means that there are times when our Sun is moving through its Birkeland current in regions where all the various layers of plasma sheets move in the same direction, and other times when the sheets are out of synch with each other. In the case of our Sun, the cycle is 11 years.

When the Birkeland current is in synch, our Sun is calm with little flaring and few sunspots. When the current is out of synch, there is more flaring and more sunspots.

The period of calm is also when our Sun’s magnetic field is at its most distinct. It has a clear north-south axis. This is contrary to periods of flaring and turbulence, when our Sun has a chaotic magnetic field with no clear direction.

Solar cycles

All of this corresponds precisely to the so called solar cycles. In fact, it explains them perfectly.

Sunspots and flaring are at their most intense shortly after our Sun moves through a region of maximum turbulence in the Birkeland current. They are at a minimum shortly after our Sun passes through a region of minimum of turbulence.

Atmospheric inertia

The delay is due to atmospheric inertia. Just like summers here on Earth are at their hottest shortly after we have peak solar exposure, solar cycles are at their most intense shortly after the Sun passes through maximum turbulence in its Birkeland current.

Atmospheric inertia can also explain why there’s no overall change in the Sun’s rotation due to magnetic reversal.

Plasma sheets swapping sides

The Birkeland current doesn’t have much inertia to it, so when there is a reversal in its overall motion, it deals with this through the way of least resistance. It doesn’t oppose the inertially heavy rotation of our Sun. Rather, it reconnects in such a way that its contribution to the rotation remains the same.

The direction of the current reverts, but not its rotation. The positive and negative plasma sheets that come in through the north and south poles of our Sun swap sides, but with no other impact than a lot of turbulence during the swap. 

Climate impacts

Additionally, we have an explanation for why Earth’s climate cools down during periods of little overall solar activity.

If our Sun is externally powered by a Birkeland current, it follows that the strength of this current will determine the strength of the Sun’s output. So, when the Birkeland current is weaker than normal, our Sun should be less intense in both its radiation, and its turbulence and flaring.

By observing a drop in flaring and sunspot activity, we can infer a drop in energy input, and hence expect a drop in Earth’s temperature.

AC to DC conversion

But none of this explains why Earth’s magnetic field remains unaffected by magnetic reversals of our Sun. However, this detail isn’t difficult to explain in the light of what was stated earlier about the solar wind.

Our Sun is the central node of the Birkeland current that passes through our Solar system. It’s the Sun that soaks up its energy. The planets that orbit our Sun is not directly affected. Rather, we are basking in the glow of our central star. There’s a steady wind of electrons and ions sprayed out at us together with photon radiation.

Instead of being affected by an alternating current, we’re receiving a direct current that doesn’t revert every 11 years.

The Sun acts as a AC to DC converter for the planets.

Magnetic reversals for planets

But if our Sun provides its planets with a DC current, why then do we sometimes get magnetic reversals also on Earth? Here, we can only speculate, but one possible explanation could be a change in the overall makeup of the solar wind.

If the solar wind is predominantly made up of electrons during normal times, but sometimes changes to predominantly protons, or visa versa, we may experience a magnetic reversal for planets as a consequence.

Planetary Birkeland currents

The effect of an overall change in the makeup of the solar wind would be similar to the effect of a reversal for the Sun.

This is because the auroral current entering planets are of the same kind as the current driving our Sun. They too are Birkeland currents with multiple layers and counter rotations.

The inertia inherent in planetary rotation will similarly dictate that the overall rotation remains the same. So, the only significant change to the planets becomes a reversal of the poles, preceded by significant atmospheric and magnetic turbulence.

However, there may be internal mechanisms driving some of this as well, as suggested in this paper.


Observed facts are consistent with an electric model of our galaxyour Sun and its planets. However, the precise makeup of the electric circuit is far from straight forward. There are multiple factors playing a part, and I’m not pretending to have all the answers.

Solar Cycle Prediction.gif
By David Hathaway, NASA, Marshall Space Flight Center –, Public Domain, Link

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