Sunny Sunday

VANISHING SUNSPOTS: Something interesting is happening on the sun. Yesterday, June 3rd, the sunspot number dropped to 0, and the solar disk is still blank on June 4th. Latest images from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory reveal no significant dark cores:


What does this mean? The solar cycle is like a pendulum, swinging back and forth between periods of high and low sunspot number every 11 years. Today’s blank sun is a sign that the pendulum is swinging toward low sunspot numbers. In other words, Solar Minimum is coming.

The spotless state of today’s sun is just temporary. Underneath the visible surface of the sun, the solar dynamo is still churning out knots of magnetism that will soon bob to the surface to make new sunspots. The current solar cycle is not finished. It is, however, rapidly waning.

Forecasters expect the next Solar Minimum to arrive in 2019-2020. Between now and then, there will be lots of spotless suns. At first, the blank stretches will be measured in days; later in weeks and months. Don’t expect space weather to grow quiet, however. Solar Minimum brings many interesting changes. For instance, as the extreme ultraviolet output of the sun decreases, the upper atmosphere of Earth cools and collapses. This allows space junk to accumulate around our planet. Also, the heliosphere shrinks, bringing interstellar space closer to Earth. Galactic cosmic rays penetrate the inner solar system with relative ease. Indeed, a cosmic ray surge is already underway. Goodbye sunspots, hello deep-space radiation!


About Den

Always in search of interesting things to post. Armed with knowledge and dangerous with the ladies.
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13 Responses to Sunny Sunday

  1. Den says:

    Here Spot, here Spot, where is that Spot? Must be on the other side somewhere.


  2. º¿carol says:

    Rained a bit yesterday, rained a lot more today, hooray! We were starting to need rain, grass starting to look peaked, a slave to watering the flower beds. The plants I planted and transplanted the other day are rip-roaring happy today. They’re all standing up tall, and full. Nothing like rain water.

    I had planned on mowing. Doesn’t matter, grass wasn’t that bad what with the lack of rain.

    I hope we don’t have mosquitoes hatching. Been free of them so far.


  3. David B. Benson says:

    Up to 88 °F today. Clear.


  4. David B. Benson says:

    D day was originally scheduled for this dayin 1944.


  5. David B. Benson says:

    First time I have seen an ant with a limp.


  6. David B. Benson says:

    @ the Nuevo Vallarta for camarones endiablados y Negra Modelo.

    Outside, the highway, right by the repaired water main break, has lost the rightmost lane, the turn lane to go up Stadium Way, to upward buckling of the 3+ inch thick concrete in blocks about 6 feet long along the roadway. Can’t imagine what did that!


  7. David B. Benson says:

    Brandi Way loop in 62 minutes as I stopped for a bit to watch the red-winged blackbird congregation in the cattails up by SEL.

    I was wrong, those are not Baltimore orioles.


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