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Latest Sunspot Stories

a7df0c8644d84e0df190b7cd165eca1c
2008-09-04 09:10:00

An unusual absence of sunspots has many experts and record-keepers baffled as they wait to see how much time it takes for them to return to the star's surface. Sunspots are the result of the Sun's magnetic field tearing "Ëœholes' into its surface. Meteorologists use the arrival and disappearance of sunspots to gauge how active solar cycles will be. When the sun is more active, several sunspots can appear on a daily basis. However, very few have been spotted in 2008. Experts had...

5e36509ce509474f7540e33acbc9a01c
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...

dc3f5060bd8de958de4139e6f808143d1
2008-05-19 06:00:00

Many solar scientists expected the new sunspot cycle to be a whopper, a prolonged solar tantrum that could fry satellites and raise hell with earthly communications, the power grid and modern electronics. But there's scant proof Sunspot Cycle 24 is even here, let alone the debut of big trouble. So far there have been just a couple minor zits on the face of the sun to suggest the old cycle is over and the new one is coming. The roughly 11-year cycle of sunspot activity should have bottomed...

e372395e8edef545e197cbc254d906ed
2008-05-07 08:00:00

At 11:18 AM on the cloudless morning of Thursday, September 1, 1859, 33-year-old Richard Carrington"”widely acknowledged to be one of England's foremost solar astronomers"”was in his well-appointed private observatory. Just as usual on every sunny day, his telescope was projecting an 11-inch-wide image of the sun on a screen, and Carrington skillfully drew the sunspots he saw. On that morning, he was capturing the likeness of an enormous group of sunspots. Suddenly, before his...

b64994e5a34730a385f0bdef94ea2ec31
2008-01-11 12:45:00

NASA scientists say a new solar cycle is beginning, and this could have important repercussions for space-based technology ranging from GPS navigation to weather satellites. On January 4, a reversed-polarity sunspot appeared, signaling the start of Solar Cycle 24. A sunspot is an area of magnetic activity on the surface of the sun that appears as a dark spot on its surface. Solar activity waxes and wanes in 11-year cycles and the previous solar cycle, Solar Cycle 23, peaked in 2000-2002 with...

57d25dfdb1c5c98ef544c4360db955c4
2008-01-07 16:35:00

A new 11-year cycle of heightened solar activity, bringing with it increased risks for power grids, critical military, civilian and airline communications, GPS signals and even cell phones and ATM transactions, showed signs it was on its way late Thursday when the cycle's first sunspot appeared in the sun's Northern Hemisphere, NOAA scientists said. "This sunspot is like the first robin of spring," said solar physicist Douglas Biesecker of NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center. "In this...

982c9e8f0107a15f54acea22cb2ec7f71
2007-12-17 15:41:39

The solar physics community is abuzz this week. No, there haven't been any great eruptions or solar storms. The source of the excitement is a modest knot of magnetism that popped over the sun's eastern limb on Dec. 11th, pictured below in a pair of images from the orbiting Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). It may not look like much, but "this patch of magnetism could be a sign of the next solar cycle," says solar physicist David Hathaway of the Marshall Space Flight Center. For more...

2007-12-04 11:08:49

The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) celebrated its twelfth launch anniversary on 2 December 2007. The satellite has witnessed the Sun change through almost a complete solar cycle - from quiet to stormy, and back again. The solar cycle normally lasts about 11 years. In late 1996, shortly after its launch, SOHO was able to observe the last minimum of the 11-year activity cycle. The minimum was followed by a rapid rise in solar activity, peaking 2001 and 2002. Activity levels have...

245a60779937f1d7ba8473d2d3d3e9721
2007-09-20 12:55:00

"We've never seen anything quite like it," says solar physicist Lika Guhathakurta from NASA headquarters. Last week she sat in an audience of nearly two hundred colleagues at the "Living with a Star" workshop in Boulder, Colorado, and watched in amazement as Saku Tsuneta of Japan played a movie of sunspot 10926 breaking through the turbulent surface of the sun. Before their very eyes an object as big as a planet materialized, and no one was prepared for the form it took. "It looks like a...

e39d1fad5b3a57a98846e1b9ed536fc81
2007-08-13 11:35:00

A new study reveals correlations between plentiful sunspots and periods of heavy rain in East Africa. Intense rainfall in the region often leads to flooding and disease outbreaks. The findings shed light on how life on Earth can be affected by changes in the Solar System environment. Understanding the links between the Sun and Earth is also important for astrobiologists trying to define what conditions make a planet habitable. The analysis by a team of U.S. and British researchers shows that...


Latest Sunspot Reference Libraries

4_641fa07d2f22a90aec48fb5581337d772
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...

4_993d5736f592b83ac8ab1d50b465fe332
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
baudekin
  • A rich embroidered or brocaded silk fabric woven originally with a warp of gold thread.
'Baudekin' seems to be an alternative form of 'baldachin,' from the Italian 'Baldacco,' Baghdad, the city where the material was made.
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