During this deep solar minimum, the sun's magnetic field weakened, allowing cosmic rays to penetrate the solar system in record numbers, making space a more dangerous place to travel. At the same time, the decrease in ultraviolet radiation caused Earth's upper atmosphere to cool and collapse.As a consequence space debris stopped decaying and started accumulating in Earth orbit due to increased atmospheric drag. These effects demonstrate the importance of understanding the entire solar cycle, during both minimum and maximum.Observations from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) will eventually provide measurements that could validate the current model and provide the basis for future solar cycle prediction.
The Sun has been in the news a lot lately because it's beginning to send out more flares and solar storms. Its recent turmoil is particularly newsworthy because the Sun was very quiet for an unusually long time. Astronomers had a tough time explaining the extended solar minimum. New computer simulations imply that the Sun's long quiet spell resulted from changing flows of hot plasma within it.
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 characterised by a lower frequency of sunspots and solar storms, ended in 2008 and was the deepest observed in almost 100 years.
Massive waves in giant magnetic holes on the surface of the Sun have been discovered for the first time by solar scientists from the University of Sheffield and Queen's University Belfast, something that will bring experts a step closer to unlocking the secrets of the Sun.
If you want to see Venice while keeping your feet dry, don't go when the sun has lots of spots. Peaks in solar activity cause the city to flood more often, apparently by changing the paths of storms over Europe.
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 physicists were beginning to wonder if large sunspots would ever return.
The worst of the wintry weather may be over, but next winter in Lincolnshire could be equally bad, according to an amateur astronomer.This time last year Philip Norton, a member of Lincoln Astronomical Society, told the Echo how a lack of sunspot activity was the reason for the bitter conditions.
Scientists today warned that a peak in the solar activity due in 2012 could disrupt television and internet networks during the London Olympic Games.Speaking ahead of the launch of Nasas Solar Dynamics Observatory next week, mission scientists said that the sun was due to hit a peak in its eleven-year cycle in 2012.
The radio emission from the sun at a wavelength of 10.7 centimetres (often called "the 10 cm flux") has been found to correlate well with the sunspot number. Sunspot number is defined from counts of the number of individual sunspots as well as the number of sunspot groups and must be reduced to a standard scale taking into account the differences in equipment and techniques between observatories. On the other hand, the radio flux at 10.7 centimetres can be measured relatively easily and quickly and has replaced the sunspot number as an index of solar activity for many purposes.