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SUNSPOT ALERT: The most active sunspot of the year so far is emerging in the sun's southern hemisphere: movie. Sunspot 1024 has at least a dozen individual dark cores and it is crackling with B-class solar flares. This morning, amateur astronomer David Tyler caught one of the flares in action from his backyard solar observatory in England:
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 number".
I almost hate to jump on this wagon but the one picture top right resembles a bird like many of the crop circles.
Originally posted by brokenheadphonez
RTMS is pushing data again, finally..