The planets might control the sun’s activity – and it’s not astrology

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The power of planetary alignments is normally reserved for unscientific horoscopes, but it turns out they might have some importance after all. The sun has an 11-year cycle of activity, and it may be shepherded by alignments of Venus, Earth, and Jupiter.

The sun’s cycle includes variations in the number of sunspots, the total energy it emits, and the structure of its magnetic field. Since the cycle was first discovered in 1843, researchers have struggled to understand what determines its length and periodic nature.

Frank …