You might have heard about the imminent reversal of the Sun’s magnetic poles, an 11-year long process in which the north and south magnetic poles of the Sun ‘switch places’.

But what does it mean for us here on Earth? Because the switch is a gradual process and not immediate, we wont actually notice the switch of the polarity itself, but we can see the effects of the solar activity – as seen in stunning images of Aurora Australis and Aurora Borealis.

For more information on the reversal, take a look at a recent interview with one of our astronomers, Dr Alex Hill:

It is important to note that the Sun itself won’t actually flip, it’s just the magnetic poles. The following timelapse from NASA shows this process – where the positive magnetic field (in green) starts on top and gradually moves to the bottom over an 11-year timespan from 1997-2008.

Need more of the Sun? Take a look back at some of our top solar stories:

Hot Stuff Space Probe

Here comes the Sun

Comet ISON’s daring dance with the Sun