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Latest Sunspot Stories

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...

c3bfd7e8e6c4f28471239d8af799d94b1
2007-04-25 15:15:00

WASHINGTON -- The peak of the next sunspot cycle will come in late 2011 or early 2012 - potentially affecting airline flights, communications satellites and electrical transmissions. But forecasters can't agree on how intense it will be. A 12-member panel charged with forecasting the solar cycle said Wednesday it is evenly split over whether the peak will be 90 sunspots or 140 sunspots. The government's Space Environment Center in Boulder, Colo., tracks space weather and forecasts its...

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2006-12-25 09:55:00

Evidence is mounting: the next solar cycle is going to be a big one. Solar cycle 24, due to peak in 2010 or 2011 "looks like its going to be one of the most intense cycles since record-keeping began almost 400 years ago," says solar physicist David Hathaway of the Marshall Space Flight Center. He and colleague Robert Wilson presented this conclusion last week at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. Their forecast is based on historical records of geomagnetic storms....

5d36fc597864c5b7a988955436f9974a
2006-11-03 14:45:00

The Solar Optical Telescope (SOT) onboard Japan's Hinode spacecraft has opened its doors and started snapping pictures. Shown below is a "first light" image taken Oct. 23rd. The light and dark blobs are solar granules, masses of hot gas that rise and fall like water boiling atop a hot stove. Each granule is about the size of a terrestrial continent. SOT has no trouble seeing such detail from Earth-orbit 93 million miles away. "We have confirmed that SOT is achieving a very high angular...

7f4c8987c94686d0c90a5008866b21f61
2006-08-17 08:00:00

On July 31st, a tiny sunspot was born. It popped up from the sun's interior, floated around a bit, and vanished again in a few hours. On the sun this sort of thing happens all the time and, ordinarily, it wouldn't be worth mentioning. But this sunspot was special: It was backward. "We've been waiting for this," says David Hathaway, a solar physicist at the Marshall Space Flight in Huntsville, Alabama. "A backward sunspot is a sign that the next solar cycle is beginning." "Backward" means...

42a266505872ed08d524552ac35e05ba1
2006-05-15 14:00:00

Solar Cycle 25 peaking around 2022 could be one of the weakest in centuries. The Sun's Great Conveyor Belt has slowed to a record-low crawl, according to research by NASA solar physicist David Hathaway. "It's off the bottom of the charts," he says. "This has important repercussions for future solar activity." The Great Conveyor Belt is a massive circulating current of fire (hot plasma) within the Sun. It has two branches, north and south, each taking about 40 years to perform one complete...

2830ff04c2375a41a87e1f1f4742f89b1
2006-03-12 10:30:00

NASA -- It's official: Solar minimum has arrived. Sunspots have all but vanished. Solar flares are nonexistent. The sun is utterly quiet. Like the quiet before a storm. This week researchers announced that a storm is coming -- the most intense solar maximum in fifty years. The prediction comes from a team led by Mausumi Dikpati of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). "The next sunspot cycle will be 30% to 50% stronger than the previous one," she says. If correct, the years...

cccf3c8be7ba810e3ad2c569eb73b8ba1
2006-03-06 15:45:00

By Deborah Zabarenko WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sun-spawned cosmic storms that can play havoc with earthly power grids and orbiting satellites could be 50 percent stronger in the next 11-year solar cycle than in the last one, scientists said on Monday. Using a new model that takes into account what happens under the sun's surface and data about previous solar cycles, astronomers offered a long-range forecast for solar activity that could start as soon as this year or as late as 2008. They offered...

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2006-03-06 11:30:00

NSF -- The next sunspot cycle will be 30 to 50 percent stronger than the last one, and begin as much as a year late, according to a breakthrough forecast using a computer model of solar dynamics developed by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo. The research results, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA, were published on-line on March 3 in the American Geophysical Union journal Geophysical Research Letters. Scientists now...

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2006-02-11 12:45:47

Sunspot, NM -- The planet Venus is best known for the thick layers of clouds that veil its surface from view by telescopes on Earth. But the veil has holes, and a New Mexico State University scientist plans on using a solar telescope to peer through them to study the weather on Venus. "Observations of Venus from a nighttime telescope at a single location are very difficult because Venus is so close to the Sun in the sky," said Dr. Nancy Chanover, a planetary scientist at NMSU in Las Cruces,...


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
jument
  • A beast of burden; also, a beast in general.
'Jument' ultimately comes from the Latin 'jugum,' yoke.
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