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Mystery of the Missing Sunspots, Solved

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posted on Jun, 17 2009 @ 08:46 PM
It seems that finally astronomers have found the reason for the solar minimum we are experiencing.

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.

The reason,

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.

How did they find this out?

Rachel Howe and Frank Hill of the National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Tucson, Arizona, used a technique called helioseismology to detect and track the jet stream down to depths of 7,000 km below the surface of the sun. The sun generates new jet streams near its poles every 11 years, they explained to a room full of reporters and fellow scientists. The streams migrate slowly from the poles to the equator and when a jet stream reaches the critical latitude of 22 degrees, new-cycle sunspots begin to appear

The current solar minimum has been so long and deep, it prompted some scientists to speculate that the sun might enter a long period with no sunspot activity at all, akin to the Maunder Minimum of the 17th century. This new result dispells those concerns. The sun's internal magnetic dynamo is still operating, and the sunspot cycle is not "broken."

Because it flows beneath the surface of the sun, the jet stream is not directly visible. Hill and Howe tracked its hidden motions via helioseismology. Shifting masses inside the sun send pressure waves rippling through the stellar interior. So-called "p modes" (p for pressure) bounce around the interior and cause the sun to ring like an enormous bell. By studying the vibrations of the sun's surface, it is possible to figure out what is happening inside. Similar techniques are used by geologists to map the interior of our planet.


posted on Jun, 17 2009 @ 08:57 PM
Not only have sunspots not appeared but radio output is down 6% and the electro magnetic shield that expands out into the solar system has been reduced quite a bit, not to mention that it's radiant energy has decreased 2%.

My observations of the sun from SOHO show a diminished, sleeping sun, no sunspots as of today, and nothing changed. If the jet stream has hit 22 degrees and no sunspots appear as they are supposed to, there is no telling how cold it will get and how fast.

posted on Jun, 17 2009 @ 09:03 PM
Thats right I also feel this is a half baked quick anwser for the situation. I am no expert as you know but common sense tells me something very big is going to happen not only for the sun but earth too in this inactive cycle. Perhaps it is a precursor to an ice event which we have never experienced in recorded history.

posted on Jun, 17 2009 @ 09:15 PM

Little Ice Age Unlikely, Scientists Say
By Clara Moskowitz
Staff Writer
posted: 05 May 2009
02:41 pm ET

Some media reports and headlines recently suggested that the sun's present lack of activity could lead to another Little Ice Age, but many solar scientists say that's unlikely.

Yes, the sun has been quiet lately, with very little magnetic activity on its surface; strong activity would be signified by dark patches called sunspots. Until recently, this was to be expected: The sun goes through roughly 11-year cycles, and 2008 was a predicted trough of activity.

But so far, the sun hasn't seemed to pick up in activity as predicted — sunspots were seen on only 12 of the first 90 days in 2009.

"This reluctance of the new cycle to start has me and others wondering if we might be headed toward a grand minimum where the sun stops producing spots for decades," said NASA solar physicist David Hathaway.

Still, Hathaway does not think this is going to lead to major global cooling, or anything that will significantly alter the trend toward global warming.

History as a guide

The previous grand minimum, called the Maunder Minimum, occurred between 1645 and 1715. The lull fell during a longer range (from about the 16th century to the mid-19th century) when certain areas on Earth experienced a dip in temperatures that became known as the "Little Ice Age."

This connection has prompted some to say we could be heading toward another mini Ice Age. But the science of all this — how and how much changes in solar activity affect Earth's temperature — remain largely unresolved.

And anyway, Earth's climate has bigger fish to fry these days, scientists say. The last Little Ice Age occurred before the Industrial Revolution, and may also have been influenced by volcanoes, which tend to lower temperatures.

This time around, Earth's atmosphere is packed with carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases produced by human activities. The warming effects of these heat-trapping gases will probably dwarf any slight cooling that occurs because of a lull in the solar cycle.

"I doubt a Little Ice Age given that we now have nearly twice as much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than we did 200 years ago," Hathaway told "I think that plays a larger role than what the sun does."

Judith Lean, a solar physicist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., agreed. Even if we do enter a grand minimum of solar activity, it would likely cool the atmosphere only slightly, she said.

"It's possible that there would be some regions that cool more, but globally we wouldn't expect cooling of more than a few tenths of a degree," Lean said. "And that would be an order of magnitude less than the effects we expect because of global warming, where we're talking about warming of 1 to 4 degrees."

Earth-sun connection poorly understood

In general, the connection between solar activity and temperatures on Earth is not firmly established. There is good evidence that solar activity does affect climate: When the sun is more active, surface temperatures on Earth tend to be slightly warmer, and when the sun is inactive, Earth tends to be cooler.

However, the strength of this effect and the reasons for it are not well understood. The explanation is not simply that the sun is brighter during periods of high activity and cooler when the sun is quiet.

It's more likely that changes in solar activity release different kinds of energetic particles toward the Earth, which then influence the chemistry of Earth's atmosphere and affect the climate. With certainty, scientists know that when the sun is active, it can kick up space storms capable of knocking out satellites and even disabling power grids on Earth. In fact some researchers think the next predicted solar activity peak, in 2012, could be one of the strongest ever, potentially kicking up storms that could bring modern technology to its knees.

So no matter what the sun does over the next few years, it will be very interesting to scientists.

"The solar community is very excited about the sun's behavior right now," Lean said in a phone interview. "It's a fascinating time to be working in this area."

posted on Jun, 17 2009 @ 09:17 PM
reply to post by antar

I agree Antar.

I think that a solar maximum or a huge flare/sunspot is about to go on, and they are just trying to curb the fear and the speculation.

I mean it took them that long to come up with a solution? I am assuming that this scientist was not the only person using this process of helioseismology.

This has probably been known in circles for months, we would have heard about it by now, wouln't we?

Were is Phage when you need him.


posted on Jun, 17 2009 @ 09:29 PM
From what I understand, the Earth is actually an ice age planet most of the time with warm periods. Now it is going back to it's normal state of being colder with some warmer areas near the equator. When the sun calms down it allows cosmic radiation to pour in from the galaxy. When the rays hit our atmosphere they cause clouds to form at high altitudes blocking the suns light cooling the Earth below. Solar radiant energy being lower adds to the sudden collapse of the warmth and plunge into the cold enviroment.

In the past, it is said that the change was so sudden that Mammoths were frozen in place standing up while food was still in their mouths. If it's about to happen again, expect a cool summer and fast winter.

posted on Jun, 17 2009 @ 09:31 PM
Okay. Now we know why there is such little sunspot activity lately.

".........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."

Maybe I missed something, but, so what is the cause of the slower migration of the jet stream?

posted on Jun, 17 2009 @ 09:36 PM

Originally posted by kyred
Okay. Now we know why there is such little sunspot activity lately.

".........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."

Maybe I missed something, but, so what is the cause of the slower migration of the jet stream?

For that question, you should be paid more money than they. This is the more important question. Is it that there are no sunspots because of a slow jet stream, or is it that there are no sunspots and the jet stream is slowing down, but why..?

posted on Jun, 17 2009 @ 09:40 PM
reply to post by kyred

Please do not laugh at me if I sound stupid because this is all new info to me but a stream if you think of it in a traditional sense slows down due to a blockage like a clog or if it's more like a "tube" an increase or decrease in pressure?

I'm probably grasping at straws here.

posted on Jun, 17 2009 @ 09:52 PM
thanks to both of the two previous posters. I was afraid I had just experienced some sort of thickness of the brain for not understanding it all.

posted on Jun, 17 2009 @ 10:01 PM
I live outside Phoenix and usually at this time, nearing the summer solstice, the sun is like a blast furnace.
This June has been the coolest I've seen in the 9 years I've been out here. Looking forward to the coming ice age!

P.S. I think perhaps the chemtrail project is an attempt to ward off an impending ice age.

posted on Jun, 17 2009 @ 10:26 PM
reply to post by WEOPPOSEDECEPTION

I know Jersey is nothing like where you live I can't even imagine but I hate the heat and typically start putting my AC on in early April sometimes even before and the sun feels so hot to me typically and I get burnt within five minutes of being in the sun cause I'm as white as a ghost but it's actually bearable this June really mild and really wet, the news caster today even said "Hopefully sometime soon we'll have a day without any expectations of rain or clouds, it would be the first in what seems like a year".

So yeah the Sun doesn't seem as obnoxious as it typically does and I can even feel it in NJ.

Also, I don't really know what the deal with chemtrails is but lately I've been feeling that they may be weather related because they pretty much have been cloaking my sky filling it with clouds in south NJ for a year now possibly they are a type of insulation to keep the heat in?

Ugh who knows, and whenever they do give you info like this it just leaves you with even more questions.

posted on Jun, 17 2009 @ 10:28 PM
reply to post by peacejet

To me Helioseismology sounds like Hogwash.

Who is going to believe that they can track pressures 7,000 kilometers under the Sun's surface gy vibrations? They can't do that here on Earth, so why would anyone believe they could do that on the Sun?

If they could do that here on Earth, then they would have all of the magma plumes marked, and they are not 7,000 kilometers under the surface. They would also be able to detect all of the high pressure oil deposits of the Earth, and they can't do that either.

posted on Jun, 17 2009 @ 11:59 PM
reply to post by RussianScientists

We have grown a lot technologically. When we have the capablity of imaging a planet orbiting another star directly, then why are you saying that this is not possible? Never under estimate the capability of human minds and the power of technology.

posted on Jun, 18 2009 @ 12:04 AM
if they cant even make up their minds if countries are testing nukes, then how can they possibly tell what going on inside the sun?

it does not wash with me at all.

the phrase " if all else fails then baffle them with BS" comes to mind.

posted on Jun, 18 2009 @ 12:13 AM
reply to post by grantbeed

Science is BS? We should just give up trying to learn anything new?

Try reading the article, you might learn something.

posted on Jun, 18 2009 @ 12:18 AM
reply to post by Phage

yes, some science is BS. i liked the one about the world being flat. that was good.

im not saying this is always the case, but after reading this, i am not convinced. We are all entitled to our own opinions though.

posted on Jun, 18 2009 @ 12:42 AM
reply to post by pop_science

Just because america doesnt have hot weather doesnt mean the world is not experiencing it. Here in India, I can feel the average temperature increasing over the years. I remember my childhood days when I roamed the streets during summer holidays. Now the heat is so unbearable that I cant even go outside for five minutes.

Btw, even as I type this, I am soaked in sweat inspite of having two fans in the room.

And I cant understand why you are bringing the sunspot and climate link here. I started this thread to discuss about the cause of missing/less sunspots and not sunspots and the direct impact on climate.

posted on Jun, 18 2009 @ 07:59 AM
NASA has also been inflating sunspot numbers..

Every little "speck" is a freaking "sunspot" now, no matter how transient!

This has to be disinfo.

posted on Jun, 18 2009 @ 11:19 PM
reply to post by peacejet

Hi Peace Jet,

I know BS when I see BS and these Helioseismologists are spreading the BS pretty thick in order to save their jobs and get more money for crap that is not science.

To do what they are stating would take a whole lot of equipment that these people aren't even using. Multiple Piezoseismic detection systems would have to be employed, and they haven't used a singe one, so I know that the Helioseismologists are spreading BS.

So... the entire article is BS. Sorry my friend, you found a great article, but it is nothing but BS.

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