Solar Physics

, Volume 110, Issue 1, pp 191-210

First online:

Prolonged minima and the 179-yr cycle of the solar inertial motion

  • Rhodes W. FairbridgeAffiliated withDepartment of Geological Sciences, Columbia University
  • , James H. ShirleyAffiliated with

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We employ the JPL long ephemeris DE-102 to study the inertial motion of the Sun for the period A.D. 760–2100. Defining solar orbits with reference to the Sun's successive close approaches to the solar system barycenter, occurring at mean intervals of 19.86 yr, we find simple relationships linking the inertial orientation of the solar orbit and the amplitude of the precessional rotation of the orbit with the occurrence of the principal prolonged solar activity minima of the current millenium (the Wolf, Spörer, and Maunder minima). The progression of the inertial orientation parameter is controlled by the 900-yr ‘great inequality’ of the motion of Jupiter and Saturn, while the precessional rotation parameter is linked with the 179-yr cycle of the solar inertial motion previously identified by Jose (1965). A new prolonged minimum of solar activity may be imminent.