Solar Physics

, Volume 169, Issue 2, pp 253–264 | Cite as

Is the solar cycle timed by a clock?

  • P. Hoyng


Dicke (1978) has argued that the phase of the solar cycle appears to be coupled to an internal clock: shorter cycles are usually followed by longer ones, as if the Sun remembers the correct phase. The data set is really too short to demonstrate the presence of a phase memory, but phase and amplitude of the cycle are strongly correlated for 300 yr or more. It is shown that this memory effect can be explained by mean field theory in terms of fluctuations in α, which induce coherent changes in the frequency and amplitude of a dynamo wave. It is concluded that there is neither a strong observational indication nor a theoretical need for an extra timing device, in addition to the one provided by dynamo wave physics.


Field Theory Solar Cycle Memory Effect Short Cycle Correct Phase 
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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Hoyng
    • 1
  1. 1.SRON Laboratory for Space ResearchUtrechtThe Netherlands

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