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All of the Sunspots have disappeared

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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-22-04 04:20 AM
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All of the Sunspots have disappeared
This isn't anything apocalyptic, but there are now, officially, zero sunspots on the Sun. It's normal around Solar Minimum. This, after several months of extreme activity including several CMEs.

I saw a thread about this in The Meeting Room and thought it might get good feedback here.
...

Solar physicist David Hathaway has been checking the sun every day since 1998, and every day for six years there have been sunspots. Sunspots are planet-sized "islands" on the surface of the sun. They are dark, cool, powerfully magnetized, and fleeting: a typical sunspot lasts only a few days or weeks before it breaks up. As soon as one disappears, however, another emerges to take its place.

Even during the lowest ebb of solar activity, you can usually find one or two spots on the sun. But when Hathaway looked on Jan. 28, 2004, there were none. The sun was utterly blank.

It happened again last week, twice, on Oct. 11th and 12th. There were no sunspots.

"This is a sign," says Hathaway, "that the solar minimum is coming, and it's coming sooner than we expected."

...

The most recent solar maximum was in late 2000. The first spotless day after that was Jan 28, 2004. So, using Hathaway and Wilson's simple rule, solar minimum should arrive in late 2006. That's about a year earlier than previously thought.

The next solar maximum might come early, too, says Hathaway. "Solar activity intensifies rapidly after solar minimum. In recent cycles, Solar Max has followed Solar Min by just 4 years." Do the math: 2006 + 4 years = 2010.

...
The entire article (no copyright restrictions) is located at http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2004/18oct_solarminimum.htm

--bkl
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Wilber_Stool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-22-04 05:54 AM
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