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We are in Deep Solar Minimum

By | 2018-07-15T10:12:35+00:00 April 6th, 2009|Astronomy|

Thanks to for this link to a  on the Solar Minimum, the expected period of low sunspot activity.  The Solar Minimum came right on schedule back in 2006, as I reported in this earlier article.  But this Solar Minimum is setting all kinds of records.

In 2008 the Sun was completely blank of sunspots 73% of the time, the lowest activity since 1913.  As of March 31, according to the NASA article, the Sun has been free of sunspots 87% of the time in 2009.  This is a particularly deep solar minimum that follows a 50-year period of heightened sunspot activity.

The Solar Minimum could create cooler than usual weather conditions, just as the Maunder Minimum did between 1645-1715, coinciding what was called the “Little Ice Age.”  There is also a speculated connection between the Solar Minimum periods and increased earthquake activity.  USGS statistics that indicate that earthquake activity seems to have peaked in 2003-2006, so there appears to be some correlation since the Solar Minimum appears to have begun in 2004.

Spaceweather has a new calculator for the Solar Minimum and reports that while the typical Solar Minimum lasts 485 days, we have had 592 days of a blank Sun with no sunspots.

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The Sun is waking up

By | 2018-06-11T12:14:04+00:00 June 13th, 2010|Astronomy, Sun|


solar flare
Recent solar flare

Solar scientists met last week to discuss the higher levels of solar activity that are likely as we move out of the Solar Minimum of the past few years.  The head of NASA’s Heliophysics Division says “our technological society has developed an unprecedented sensitivity to solar storms.”

reports an M2-class flare on June 12th that hurled a billion-ton coronal mass ejection into space, and a new sunspot has emerged with a series of its own eruptions.   Solar flares have been connected with weather extremes, and there have been some powerful lightning storms over the past few days.

There are proven connections between Jupiter and sunspots, so the fact that the Sun is erupting into flares at the time that Jupiter conjoins Uranus in the fiery sign of Aries is an interesting coincidence.

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