Our nearest star is about to pull a once-in-11-years move by swapping its north and south magnetic poles.
The sun's polarity switch is a natural part of "solar max" — the period of peak activity during what averages out to be roughly an 11-year cycle. According to NASA, this year will mark the fourth time since 1976 that scientists have observed the 180-degree pole flip.
The sun unleashed a powerful solar flare early Tuesday which is the largest in nearly five years. Scientists say the eruption took place on the side of the sun that was not facing earth so there will be little impact to satellites and communication systems. But the likelihood mass disruptions from the sun is a reality that several Boulder institutions face every day as they go about forecasting space weather. KUNC’s Melanie DeVries has more.