Latest Solar minimum Stories

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...

2009-06-17 15:35:00

The sun is in the pits of a century-class solar minimum, and sunspots have been puzzlingly scarce for more than two years. Now, for the first time, solar physicists might understand why.At an American Astronomical Society press conference today in Boulder, Colorado, researchers announced that a jet stream deep inside the sun is migrating slower than usual through the star's interior, giving rise to the current lack of sunspots.Rachel Howe and Frank Hill of the National Solar Observatory (NSO)...

2009-05-29 16:25:00

An international panel of experts led by NOAA and sponsored by NASA has released a new prediction for the next solar cycle. Solar Cycle 24 will peak, they say, in May 2013 with a below-average number of sunspots. "If our prediction is correct, Solar Cycle 24 will have a peak sunspot number of 90, the lowest of any cycle since 1928 when Solar Cycle 16 peaked at 78," says panel chairman Doug Biesecker of the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center. "Even a below-average cycle is capable of...

2009-05-08 15:05:00

The sun may soon begin moving into a more active period for sunspots, although forecasters predict it will be a fairly mild outbreak. But even one significant solar storm can wreak havoc on satellites and electrical systems here on Earth. A weak solar cycle refers to the number of storms, but it only takes one powerful storm to create chaos, according to Doug Biesecker, a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) space weather prediction division. Indeed, a...

2009-04-01 13:50:00

The sunspot cycle is behaving a little like the stock market. Just when you think it has hit bottom, it goes even lower. 2008 was a bear. There were no sunspots observed on 266 of the year's 366 days (73%). To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go all the way back to 1913, which had 311 spotless days: plot. Prompted by these numbers, some observers suggested that the solar cycle had hit bottom in 2008. Maybe not. Sunspot counts for 2009 have dropped even lower. As of March 31st,...

2008-11-07 12:55:00

After two-plus years of few sunspots, even fewer solar flares, and a generally eerie calm, the sun is finally showing signs of life. "I think solar minimum is behind us," says sunspot forecaster David Hathaway of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. His statement is prompted by an October flurry of sunspots. "Last month we counted five sunspot groups," he says. That may not sound like much, but in a year with record-low numbers of sunspots and long stretches of utter spotlessness, five is...

2008-10-01 06:50:00

Astronomers who count sunspots have announced that 2008 is now the "blankest year" of the Space Age. As of Sept. 27, 2008, the sun had been blank, i.e., had no visible sunspots, on 200 days of the year. To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go back to 1954, three years before the launch of Sputnik, when the sun was blank 241 times. "Sunspot counts are at a 50-year low," says solar physicist David Hathaway of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. "We're experiencing a deep minimum...

2008-07-12 17:50:00

Stop the presses! The sun is behaving normally. So says NASA solar physicist David Hathaway. "There have been some reports lately that Solar Minimum is lasting longer than it should. That's not true. The ongoing lull in sunspot number is well within historic norms for the solar cycle." This report, that there's nothing to report, is newsworthy because of a growing buzz in lay and academic circles that something is wrong with the sun. Sun Goes Longer Than Normal Without Producing Sunspots...

2008-03-30 09:45:00

Solar Cycle 23, how can we miss you if you won't go away? Barely three months after forecasters announced the beginning of new Solar Cycle 24, old Solar Cycle 23 has returned. (Actually, it never left. Read on.) "This week, three big sunspots appeared and they are all old cycle spots," says NASA solar physicist David Hathaway. "We know this because of their magnetic polarity." On March 28th the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) made this magnetic map of the sun: It shows the north and...

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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Word of the Day
  • In the phrase to out-herod Herod, to be more violent than Herod (as represented in the old mystery plays); hence, to exceed in any excess of evil.
Herod refers to 'Herod the Great,' a Roman client king and 'a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis.' According to the OED, the term is 'chiefly with allusion to Shakespeare's use' in Hamlet.