posted on Jul, 4 2009 @ 10:30 AM
reply to post by space cadet
Instead of running around like Chicken Little with rampant speculation and 'EOTW' hysteria, how's about some historical reflection?:
In 1843 an amateur German astronomer named Samuel Heinrich Schwabe, using 17 years of his personal sunspot observations, discovered the
rise and fall of yearly sunspot counts we now call the sunspot cycle. He initially estimated the cycle's length at 10 years. Two French physicists,
Louis Fizeau and Léon Foucault, took the first photo of the Sun and sunspots in April 1845. Around 1852 four astronomers noted, roughly
simultaneously, that the period of the sunspot cycle was identical to the period of variation of geomagnetic activity at Earth, giving birth to the
field of study of Sun-Earth connections we now call "space weather".
Around 1858 the Englishman Richard C. Carrington and Gustav Spörer independently made two important discoveries: the solar latitude at which
sunspots appear gradually decreases from about 40° to 5° throughout the course of a sunspot cycle (now often called Spörer's Law), and sunspots at
different latitudes move around the Sun at different rates. The latter fact led them to conclude that the Sun does not rotate as a solid sphere, but
rather has different rates of rotation at different latitudes (about 30% slower near the poles than near the equator) characteristic of a gaseous
body. In 1868 the Swiss astronomer Rudolf Wolf was trying to compare historical sunspot counts by many different astronomers using various
instruments and observing techniques. He devised a formula, which is still in use today, that combined data about counts of individual spots, counts
of sunspot groups, and a correction factor for each observer. The result of his calculation for any given period is called the "Wolf sunspot
There is more, including possible (or coincidental) corelation with sunspot observation data and weather phenomena on Earth, as noted in the snippet.
MY point here is to look at the years...150 years of actual scientific study, and lots of data, but as far as I know the World hasn't ended.
There was a 'mini ice age' in Medieval times, some unusually hot periods...all obviously survivable. It IS interesting, to be sure.
Finally....the good ole' Sun has been merrily converting hydrogen to helium (and other elements) for billions of years. I doubt its sunspot cycles
have varied much in all that time, because life on Earth tends to have persisted......