HAO Colloquium - Robert Leamon, UMBC/NASA-GSFC

Is the sun misbehaving?
If Nobel Prize-winning work is to be cited in an HAO colloquium it is most likely that of Hannes Alfven, awarded the 1970 Prize in Physics. We will discuss Alfven waves and the other eponymous Swedish waves, that of Rossby, but also Richard Thaler, awarded the 2017 Prize in Economics… I recently drove across the country, and was listening to the audiobook of Thaler’s “Misbehaving” – his account of creating the new field of Behavioral Economics – the intersection of Economics and Psychology. The title comes from people “misbehaving” – deviating from what is economically the “rational choice” because of their psychology and biases. It’s quite hard to start a revolution, start a new field, or change the way of thinking in an established field – just as hard, apparently, in Economics as in Heliophysics!
The past few talks I have given have had something like the following as their abstract:
  • “Over the past few years a new paradigm to describe solar variability has developed, based on observing bands of magnetism that belong to the Sun's *22-year* magnetic activity cycle (the Hale Cycle), and migrate from high latitudes towards the equator. Those activity bands appear to be anchored deep in the Sun’s convective interior and governed by the rotation of our star's radiative zone. We have also observed that those magnetic bands exhibit strong quasi-annual variability in the rotating convecting system which results in a significant local modulation of solar surface magnetism, forcing the production of large eruptive events in each hemisphere that molds the global-scale solar magnetic field and the solar-wind-inflated heliosphere.
  • One of the most important events in the progression of these bands is their death, or "termination," at the solar equator that signals a global increase in magnetic activity that becomes the new solar cycle. Their death is NOT dragged out, but VERY abrupt; indeed, the triggering of growth in the new solar cycle is almost immediate. This termination of the last vestiges of solar cycle 24 is imminent.
  • These Hale Cycle Terminator events reset the Sun's fiducial clock and present a new portal to explore the Sun-Earth connection, better than the canonical "max" and "min," and can revolutionize solar and solar wind modelling.”
In light of Thaler’s discussion of Thomas Kuhn’s model of scientific revolutions, in which paradigms change only when a significant number of empirical “anomalies” are accepted as valid violations of the received wisdom, we shall discuss a number of apparent solar anomalies, that can more readily be explained by the interacting band Hale Cycle model, keyed on Terminators.
Date and time: 
Wednesday, September 29, 2021 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm