Without the light from our Sun, the Earth would be a dead planet. Variations of the energy output from the Sun gives rise to variations in the Earth´s climate. Most noticeable is the sunspot period which also modulates the strength and visibility of the Northern Light. The climate around the North Atlantic is related to the length of the sunspot period. The sunspot period is on average 11 years. The sidereal period of Jupiter is 11.8 years. Is this a coincidence or does it mean that Jupiter governs the sunspot period? And do other planets play a role – making the sunspot period longer or shorter, and thereby change the climate in the North?
Jan-Erik Solheim is professor emeritus at the University of Tromsø. He has studied cosmology, galaxies and rapidly variable stars. In recent years he has taken a closer look at the periodic fluctuations in the Earth’s climate and the possible astronomical reasons for these. Solheim has contributed greatly to the modernization of professional astronomy in Norway, with the creation of Skibotn Observatory (1978), Nordic Optical Telescope (1989), Nordlysplanetariet of Tromsø and the international network The Whole Earth Telescope.