"The sun can be thought of as a large bar magnet," says Wilson.
"The equatorial region of the sun spins more rapidly than the poles, and this differential rotation winds up the magnetic field lines like a rubber band."
Wilson says sunspots typically appear wherever these magnetic field lines bubble to the surface.
"Once the peak in sunspot activity is reached, a huge amount of energy is released, the magnetic poles are reversed and a new cycle begins," he says.
For many years scientists have recognised an apparent connection between the strength of sunspot activity and the movement of the sun in relation to solar system's barycentre, which is driven by the combined gravitational forces of Jupiter and Saturn.
But no one has been able to explain the connection.
Great is the Name of the Lord