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Latest Solar cycle Stories

2010-03-30 07:25:00

After the most profound lull in solar activity for nearly a century, the Sun is finally coming back to life. But will the solar activity return to previous levels? ESA's venerable solar watchdog SOHO is there, watching and measuring, providing unique information about our nearest star. It was the perfect Christmas present for solar physicists. In mid-December 2009, the largest group of sunspots to emerge for several years manifested itself on the solar surface. It occurred just as some solar...

2010-03-18 12:25:00

Scientists are learning to predict giant solar storms that could, at any time, hit the Earth and produce cascading catastrophes From Sept. 1 to 2, 1859, the sun blasted out a massive, record-breaking coronal mass ejection (CME)--a huge eruption of highly charged gases and plasma that may have weighed as much as a billion tons. Racing through the solar system at several million miles per hour, the CME eventually collided with the Earth's magnetosphere--an invisible, atmospheric cocoon...

2010-03-12 13:25:00

Space physicists from the University of Leicester are part of an international team that has identified the impact of the Sun on Mars' atmosphere. Writing in the AGU journal Geophysics Research Letters, the scientists report that Mars is constantly losing part of its atmosphere to space. The new study shows that pressure from solar wind pulses is a significant contributor to Mars's atmospheric escape. The researchers analyzed solar wind data and satellite observations that track the flux of...

2010-03-12 13:22:22

In today's issue of Science, NASA solar physicist David Hathaway reports that the top of the sun's Great Conveyor Belt has been running at record-high speeds for the past five years. "I believe this could explain the unusually deep solar minimum we've been experiencing," says Hathaway. "The high speed of the conveyor belt challenges existing models of the solar cycle and it has forced us back to the drawing board for new ideas." The Great Conveyor Belt is a massive circulating current of fire...

2010-02-10 13:40:00

For some years now, an unorthodox idea has been gaining favor among astronomers. It contradicts old teachings and unsettles thoughtful observers, especially climatologists. "The sun," explains Lika Guhathakurta of NASA headquarters in Washington DC, "is a variable star." But it looks so constant... That's only a limitation of the human eye. Modern telescopes and spacecraft have penetrated the sun's blinding glare and found a maelstrom of unpredictable turmoil. Solar flares explode with the...

2010-02-04 16:17:12

A $32 million University of Colorado at Boulder instrument package set for launch Feb. 9 by NASA should help scientists better understand the violent effects of the sun on near-Earth space weather that can affect satellites, power grids, ground communications systems and even astronauts and aircraft crews. The CU-Boulder Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment, or EVE, will fly on NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory known as SDO, the space agency's first mission as part of its "Living With a...

2009-11-01 05:56:58

On August 1, 2008 a total solar eclipse was visible within a narrow corridor that traversed from North America to China. The path of the Moon's umbral shadow started from Canada and extended across northern Greenland, the Arctic, central Russia, Mongolia, and China. A partial eclipse was seen within the much broader path of the Moon's penumbral shadow, which included northeastern part of North America, most parts of Europe and Asia. At a solar physics meeting, held in Kunming, China in the...

2009-10-28 06:15:00

Every 11 years, the sun undergoes a furious upheaval. Dark sunspots burst forth from beneath the sun's surface. Explosions as powerful as a billion atomic bombs spark intense flares of high-energy radiation. Clouds of gas big enough to swallow planets break away from the sun and billow into space. It's a flamboyant display of stellar power. So why can't we see any of it? Almost none of the drama of Solar Maximum is visible to the human eye. Look at the sun in the noontime sky...

2009-09-17 09:21:46

Challenging conventional wisdom, new research finds that the number of sunspots provides an incomplete measure of changes in the Sun's impact on Earth over the course of the 11-year solar cycle. The study, led by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University of Michigan, finds that Earth was bombarded last year with high levels of solar energy at a time when the Sun was in an unusually quiet phase and sunspots had virtually disappeared. "The Sun...

2009-09-03 15:14:15

The sun is in the pits of the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century. Weeks and sometimes whole months go by without even a single tiny sunspot. The quiet has dragged out for more than two years, prompting some observers to wonder, are sunspots disappearing? "Personally, I'm betting that sunspots are coming back," says researcher Matt Penn of the National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Tucson, Arizona. But, he allows, "there is some evidence that they won't." Penn's colleague Bill Livingston...

Latest Solar cycle Reference Libraries

How Solar Cycles Impact Our Weather Here On Earth
2013-01-13 09:10:34

Solar cycles: what are they and why should we care about them? Solar cycles are made up of what are known as solar minimums (min) and solar maximums (max). We refer to a solar min at the time when the sun is not active with many sunspots, while a solar max is just the opposite when we see a large increase in sunspot activity. So how long do solar cycles last? Typically they run on what is known as an 11 year cycle from the max to the min and then start over again anew. As of 2012 we...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Solar Maximum -- The Sun, a roiling ball of plasma, occupies its place in space approximately 93 million miles from Earth. Though it seems simple to inhabitants of this planet -- the Sun shines, giving light and heat -- the processes occurring in the Sun are so complex that many scientists devote their careers to just one aspect of solar activity. Changes in the activity of the Sun particularly engage solar scientists. Whether fluctuations in the solar magnetic field, expulsions of...

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