Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 6:16 EDT

Latest Solar minimum Stories

2011-03-02 14:05:00

Researchers today provided the first computer model explaining the recent period of decreased solar activity during the Sun's 11-year cycle. This recent solar minimum was the deepest observed in about 100 years. The solar minimum has repercussions on the safety of space travel and the amount of orbital debris our planet accumulates. NASA said that scientists around the world were puzzled by the extended disappearances of sunspots in 2008 through 2009. "Plasma currents deep inside the sun...

2011-03-02 07:51:43

NASA has rescheduled a media teleconference for 2 p.m. EST on Wednesday, March 2, to discuss the first computer model that explains the recent period of decreased solar activity during the sun's 11-year cycle. The recent solar minimum, a period characterized by a lower frequency of sunspots and solar storms, ended in 2008 and was the deepest observed in almost 100 years. The teleconference panelists are: -- Richard Fisher, director, Heliophysics Division, Science Mission Directorate, NASA...

2011-01-08 08:15:00

To prevent solar damage to communication, navigation and other high tech systems, scientists are determining the temperatures, composition and movement of materials inside the sunSunspots are huge, dark, irregularly shaped--and yet, temporary--areas of intense magnetism on the sun that expand and contract as they move."The diameters of sunspots are frequently on the order of 50,000 miles," said Frank Hill of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) National Solar Observatory. "By contrast, the...

2010-09-29 05:55:00

The aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, have dwindled in the last five years, becoming more rare than at any other time in the last hundred years, said the Finnish Meteorological Institute on Tuesday. The Northern Lights typically follow an eleven-year "solar cycle," in which frequency of the phenomena increases to a maximum point then begins to taper off toward a minimum and then repeats the cycle. The last solar minimum occurred in 2008, but seems to have continued "on and on and on,"...

2010-08-26 23:40:03

Large changes in the sun's energy output may drive unexpectedly dramatic fluctuations in Earth's outer atmosphere.Results of a study published today link a recent, temporary shrinking of a high atmospheric layer with a sharp drop in the sun's ultraviolet radiation levels.The research, led by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., and the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU), indicates that the sun's magnetic cycle, which produces differing...

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 13:22:22

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...

2010-02-18 07:05:00

Imagine holding the entire sun in the palm of your hand. Now you can. A new iPhone app developed by NASA-supported programmers delivers a live global view of the sun directly to your cell phone. Users can fly around the star, zoom in on active regions, and monitor solar activity. "This is more than cool," says Dick Fisher, director of NASA's Heliophysics Division in Washington DC. "It's transformative. For the first time ever, we can monitor the sun as a living, breathing 3-dimensional...

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...

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...

Latest Solar minimum 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

Sunspot -- A sunspot is a region on the Sun's surface (photosphere) that is marked by a lower temperature than its surroundings, and intense magnetic activity. Although they are blindingly bright, at temperatures of roughly 5000 Kelvin, the contrast with the surrounding material at some 6000 Kelvin leaves them clearly visible as dark spots. Interestingly, if they were isolated from the surrounding photosphere they would be brighter than an electric arc. History Apparent references...

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