For instance, an M3-flare from sunspot 960 on June 1st caused a shortwave fadeout over Europe. In the Czech Republic, Mirek Najman captured the event in this plot of a fading 3.5 MHz radio beacon.
I've got a little observation. Off the north east coast of the united states is a weather phenomenon. The data here is 1_18_08. Here is a link to the saved conglomerate weather map.
I was wondering if there where any unusual solar emissions in the past few days or weeks that could account for the splitting of the up surge of tropical air that occurred with in the last day.
Many forecasters believe Solar Cycle 24 will be big and intense. Peaking in 2011 or 2012, the cycle to come could have significant impacts on telecommunications, air traffic, power grids and GPS systems. (And don't forget the Northern Lights!) In this age of satellites and cell phones, the next solar cycle could make itself felt as never before.
Sunspot 990 is only the second sunspot of new Solar Cycle 24. In the months ahead, new cycle spots will appear in greater size and number as solar activity emerges from its current low ebb and ascends toward the next Solar Maximum in 2011-12; then the show will really begin. Stay tuned for solar activity.
A sunspot from the next solar cycle could soon appear in the sun's northern hemisphere. SOHO magnetograms show an emerging magnetic dipole with the telltale polarity of Solar Cycle 24:
The analysis of recent spotless days compared to historical spotless days led NASA solar physicist Dr David Hathaway to conclude that nothing is unusual about this solar minimum period. Another way to view solar minimum is to look at the duration when the smoothed sunspot number is below 20. Historically, this duration has ranged from a short 17 months to a long 96 months, with an average of 37 months. Solar Cycle 23 descended below 20 in February 2006, and Cycle 24 is predicted to ascend above 20 in early 2009. That's around 36 months, so everything appears to be pretty normal so far and agrees with Dr Hathaway's conclusion. We'll just have to be patient until Cycle 24 starts ramping up. The good news is that we have seen three sunspot regions tied to Cycle 24 (January 4, April 13 and May 5), so it's coming.
This is a bipolar active region that appeared on Aug. 21st. Pavol Rapavy took the picture from his backyard observatory in Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia. Because the sunspot lasted a short time, NOAA did not assign it a number. Nevertheless, the solar index World Data Center in Belgium recognizes the spot with a non-zero sunspot count on Aug. 21st and 22nd.
Sept. 5, 2008: Next April, for a grand total of 8 minutes, NASA astronomers are going to glimpse a secret layer of the sun.
Researchers call it "the transition region." It is a place in the sun's atmosphere, about 5000 km above the stellar surface, where magnetic fields overwhelm the pressure of matter and seize control of the sun's gases. It's where solar flares explode, where coronal mass ejections begin their journey to Earth, where the solar wind is mysteriously accelerated to a million mph.
It is, in short, the birthplace of space weather.
The name of the telescope is SUMI, short for Solar Ultraviolet Magnetograph Investigation. It was developed by astronomers and engineers at the MSFC and is currently scheduled for launch from White Sands, New Mexico, in April 2009.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA will hold a media
teleconference Tuesday, Sept. 23, at 12:30 p.m. EDT, to discuss data from
the joint NASA and European Space Agency Ulysses mission that reveals the
sun's solar wind is at a 50-year low. The sun's current state could result
in changing conditions in the solar system.
Ulysses was the first mission to survey the space environment above and
below the poles of the sun. The reams of data Ulysses returned have changed
forever the way scientists view our star and its effects. The venerable
spacecraft has lasted more than 17 years -- almost four times its expected
This year's ozone hole surrounding the Southern Hemisphere's pole is shaping up to be one of the largest ever, having already surpassed the size of last year's, according to the World Meteorological Organization.
"The average pressure of the solar wind has dropped more than 20% since the mid-1990s," says Dave McComas of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas. "This is the weakest it's been since we began monitoring solar wind almost 50 years ago."
Curiously, the speed of the million mph solar wind hasn't decreased much—only 3%. The change in pressure comes mainly from reductions in temperature and density. The solar wind is 13% cooler and 20% less dense.
Above: Global measurements of solar wind pressure by Ulysses. Green curves trace the solar wind in 1992-1998, while blue curves denote lower pressure winds in 2004-2008.
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.
Hathaway cautions that this development may sound more exciting than it actually is: "While the solar minimum of 2008 is shaping up to be the deepest of the Space Age, it is still unremarkable compared to the long and deep solar minima of the late 19th and early 20th centuries." Those earlier minima routinely racked up 200 to 300 spotless days per year.
Scientists expect that sunspot activity will pick up in the coming months, but exactly what will happen next is open to debate. Dr. Hathaway had predicted two years ago, based on the Sun’s behavior near the end of the last cycle, that the maximum this time would be ferocious.
“I’m getting worried about that prediction now,” he said. “Normally, big cycles start early, and by doing that, they cut short the previous cycle. This one hasn’t done that.”
But many of the other competing predictions — more than 50 over all — pointed to a quieter-than-average cycle. “They do kind of go all over the map,” said Douglas Biesecker, a physicist at the Space Weather Prediction Center who led an international panel that reviewed predictions.
The solar wind is another piece of the puzzle. David J. McComas of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio and one of the researchers who analyzed data from the Ulysses Sun-watching spacecraft, said that the strength of the solar wind seemed to be in a long-term decline. The pressure exerted by the solar wind particles during the current minimum is about a quarter weaker than during the last solar minimum, Dr. McComas said.
A new research has suggested that increased solar activity - associated with sunspots - means more ultraviolet radiation reaching the Earths upper atmosphere, resulting in a decrease in hurricane intensity.
The idea is that increased solar activity - associated with sunspots - means more ultraviolet radiation reaching the Earths upper atmosphere. That warms the airs aloft and decreases the temperature differential between high and low elevations that otherwise would fuel hurricanes.
Our results indicate that there is an effect in the intensity of storms due to the higher temperatures aloft, said Elsner.
NEW-CYCLE SUNSPOT: Sunspot 1007, which emerged on Halloween, is a member of new Solar Cycle 24. The spot is located at high latitude, as new-cycle sunspots always are, and it has the magnetic polariity expected of a Cycle 24 active region:
From beginning to end, the month of October had four new-cycle sunspots. They emerged on Oct. 4th, 11th, 17th and 31st. In a year of almost no sunspots, four in a single month is significant. It means that the sun is beginning a slow ascent out of solar minimum to a more active phase of the sunspot cycle. Solar minimum is not a permanent condition! Readers, if you have a solar telescope, train it on sunspot 1007 to witness a sign of things to come. spaceweather.com
The sun’s magnetic field may have a significant impact on weather and climatic parameters in Australia and other countries in the northern and southern hemispheres. According to a study in Geographical Research, the droughts are related to the solar magnetic phases and not the greenhouse effect.
A sixth region in the magnetosphere?
As you probably know, Earth's magnetosphere, 'the invisible bubble of magnetic fields and electrically charged particles that surrounds and protects the planet from the periodically lethal radiation of the solar wind,' was discovered in 1958. Until now, it was composed of five regions, including the ionosphere or the Van Allen radiation belts. Now, a U.S. research team has discovered a sixth region, called the warm plasma cloak.
But do you have an idea of the size of the magnetosphere? "It is huge: five to six Earth diameters on the side facing the Sun, 10 to 12 diameters around and with a tail that streams more than a million miles away from the Sun. This dynamic magnetic structure shields Earth's surface from the solar wind, the stream of charged particles that continuously boils off the Sun’s surface. As the strength of the solar wind varies, the magnetosphere expands and contracts. The different regions in the magnetosphere are distinguished by the energy and behavior of the charged particles that they contain. The ions’ energy level is measured in electron volts (eV). The typical ion floating around in the air at sea level has an energy level of about one-fortieth of an eV. The energy of ions in the magnetosphere range from a few eV to millions of eV."
NASA Sees the 'Dark Side' of the Sun
"NASA's two STEREO spacecraft will be 180 degrees apart and will image the entire Sun for the first time in history."
STEREO's deployment on opposite sides of the Sun solves a problem that has vexed astronomers for centuries: At any given moment they can see only half of the stellar surface. The Sun spins on its axis once every 25 days, so over the course of a month the whole Sun does turn to face Earth, but a month is not nearly fast enough to keep track of events. Sunspots can materialize, explode, and regroup in a matter of days; coronal holes open and close; magnetic filaments stretch tight and—snap!—they explode, hurling clouds of hot gas into the solar system. Fully half of this action is hidden from view, a fact which places space weather forecasters in an awkward position. How can you anticipate storms when you can't see them coming? Likewise researchers cannot track the long-term evolution of sunspots or the dynamics of magnetic filaments because they keep ducking over the horizon at inconvenient times. STEREO's global view will put an end to these difficulties.