Solar Physics

, Volume 289, Issue 8, pp 3207–3229

Evidence for Planetary Forcing of the Cosmic Ray Intensity and Solar Activity Throughout the Past 9400 Years


DOI: 10.1007/s11207-014-0510-1

Cite this article as:
McCracken, K.G., Beer, J. & Steinhilber, F. Sol Phys (2014) 289: 3207. doi:10.1007/s11207-014-0510-1


Paleo-cosmic-ray (PCR) records based on cosmogenic 10Be and 14C data are used to study the variations in cosmic-ray intensity and solar activity over the past 9400 years. There are four strong correlations with the motion of the Jovian planets; the probability of occurring by chance being < 10−5. They are i) the PCR periodicities at 87, 350, 510, and 710 years, which closely approximate integer multiples of half the Uranus–Neptune synodic period; ii) eight periodicities in the torques calculated to be exerted by the planets on an asymmetric tachocline that approximate the periods observed in the PCR; iii) the maxima of the long-term PCR variations are coincident with syzygy (alignment) of the four Jovian planets in 5272 and 644 BP; and iv) in the time domain, the PCR intensity decreases during the first 60 years of the ≈ 172 year Jose cycle (Jose, Astron. J. 70, 193, 1965) and increases in the remaining ≈ 112 years in association with barycentric anomalies in the distance between the Sun and the center of mass of the solar system. Furthermore, sunspot and neutron-monitor data show that three anomalous sunspot cycles (4th, 7th, and 20th) and the long sunspot minimum of 2006 – 2009 CE coincided with the first and second barycentric anomalies of the 58th and 59th Jose cycles. Phase lags between the planetary and heliospheric effects are ≤ five years. The 20 largest Grand Minima during the past 9400 years coincided with the latter half of the Jose cycle in which they occurred. These correlations are not of terrestrial origin, nor are they due to the planets’ contributing directly to the cosmic-ray modulation process in the heliosphere. Low cosmic-ray intensity (higher solar activity) occurred when Uranus and Neptune were in superior conjunction (mutual cancellation), while high intensities occurred when Uranus–Neptune were in inferior conjunction (additive effects). Many of the prominent peaks in the PCR Fourier spectrum can be explained in terms of the Jose cycle, and the occurrence of barycentric anomalies.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Physical Sciences and TechnologyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.EawagDübendorfSwitzerland