I read with interest a number of other threads proposing statistical correlation between planetary conjugation cycles and sunspot cycles. The theory behind those correlations is that gravitational tidal forces acting on the surface of the sun causes formation of sun spots and ejection of solar matter. In fact, the relative tidal influence M/(D^3) of the planets on the Sun (by comparison with the Earth's effect on the Sun) is as follows:
Let's consider the biggest four tidal effects, i.e.
The tidal effect can go from 0 (ie no sunspots) if Mercury and Venus are in exact antiphase with Earth and Jupiter relative to the sun, through to 6 if all four of these planets are aligned through the axis of the sun. They do not all have to be on the same side of the sun!
Based on the known orbital periods of each of Mercury, Venus, Earth and Jupiter, I produced an Excel worksheet showing exactly at which time two or more of these four planets would be aligned axially with the sun. The spreadsheet runs for four thousand years from 1000 BC to 3000 AD. If the alignment order was Sun-Venus-Earth or Venus-Sun-Earth it doesn't matter because the tidal force on the Sun would be the same. I then ran a macro to identify when the alignments had occured to within 5% angular error. The theory below is based on the alignment patterns that the spreadsheet revealed:
Sun, Venus, and Earth are aligned approximately every 11.2 years (in any order axially through the Sun) with Jupiter in antiphase. At this time there occurs a "minor" sunspot maximum. Relative level = 2+1-2 = 1
Additionally, Jupiter is aligned with Sun, Venus and Earth every 22.4 years. At that time there occurs a "major" sunspot maximum. Relative level = 2+1+2 = 5
Additionally, Mercury is aligned with Sun, Venus and Earth every 201.5 years (relative level = 2), and also with Jupiter as well every 403 years (relative level = 6).
Mercury's gravitational drag on the Sun is in antiphase with the Sun, Venus and Earth between those times, so every 100.75 years we should see a sunspot cycle minimum, where sunspots disappear for about 20 years (relative level = 0) followed 100.75 years later by a minor sunspot cycle peak (relative level = 2), followed 100.75 years later by another minimum (relative level = 0), followed 100.75 years later by a grandaddy of sunspot maxima (relative level = 6).
I would be very interested if those who have access to historical data could please test this theory with observed planetary and sunspot data. Here are my predictions:
a) Every 403 years the sunspot cycle pattern repeats.
b) The periodicity of alignments of Mercury, Venus, Earth and Jupiter through the axis of the Sun is every 403 years.
c) 201.5 years following observation of maximum sunspot activity, there is a period of at least 20 years in which no sunspots at all will occur (relative tidal level =0)
d) 201.5 years following a 20 year period in which no sunspots occurred, there will occur a solar maxima that will not recur for another 403 years.
e) 2012 will be a year in which the absolute solar maxima will be observed (relative level=6) and it will be the same phenomena that presumably also happened in about 1609 ... can anyone remember back to then?
f) The last time when sunspots "disappeared" for 20 years should have been in approximately 1810 to 1830.
g) In case anyone is getting too worried about 2012, if we go back 22.4 years to 1989-90 then according to my theory there should have been at that time a relative level of sunspot activity of 5, with Jupiter, Sun Mercury, Venus and Earth aligned. So 2012 will only be 20% more intense due to the addition of Mercury in the alignment compared with then.