Early in 2001, NASA websites announced that the North-South magnetic field of the Sun was reversing its polarity, was flipping over, as it does every eleven years. This rhythm makes up the well-known 22-year cycle. Solar satellites recorded the event as it happened, making this the first time ever that the event was followed in real time. There are four stages in this cycle, just like there are in a heartbeat, and let's go over them. The North-South magnetic field emerges from its poles, reaching out above and below the ecliptic. As the solar equator is tilted merely six degrees to the ecliptic, this field is more or less perpendicular to it. It grows strongest as the sunspots are at their minimum (the sunspots are then small, and there are only a few around the solar equator) and then grows weak as the sunspot maximum approaches - when, dramatically, it flips right over, between North and South, then starts increasing again with polarity reversed. Then as we saw, around the solar equator, the magnetic field becomes stretched-out and stressed at sunspot maximum, with strands threading in and out of the sunspots. Astronomers talk of a solar 'dynamo' as having a 'self-reversing magnetic field' and this is something unearthly - no magnetic field self-reverses here on Earth.
The solar wind spirals out from the Sun, and it normally divides up into four sectors, of alternating magnetic polarity. But, these do fragment into a larger number of streams, eight or so, during a sunspot maximum. Thus in the ecliptic, there is normally a fourfold 'rotating sector structure' of the solar plasma The spiral is caused by the Sun's rotation. Solar wind flows along one sector out to the planets, and then back again into the Sun via another. Does this indicate that the Sun has an inner structure differentiated by sectors, and, if so, would this be comparable to the four ventricles of the heart?