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Mystery of the Missing Sunspots supposedly solved

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17 Jun 09 – “Sunspots have been puzzlingly scarce for more than two years. Now, for the first time, solar physicists might understand why.

Researchers announced today that a jet stream deep inside the sun is migrating slower than usual through the star's interior, giving rise to the current lack of sunspots.

The sun generates new jet streams near its poles every 11 years, say scientists at the National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Tucson, Arizona. The streams migrate slowly from the poles to the equator and when a jet stream reaches the critical latitude of 22 degrees, new-cycle sunspots begin to appear.

“The jet stream is now, finally, reaching the critical latitude, heralding a return of solar activity in the months and years ahead."

          ”In the months and years ahead.” How many months? How many years?

“The current solar minimum has been so long and deep, it prompted some scientists to speculate that the sun might enter a long period with no sunspot activity at all, akin to the Maunder Minimum of the 17th century. This new result (supposedly) dispels those concerns."

“There is, however, much more to learn."

"We still don't understand exactly how jet streams trigger sunspot production," says Dean Pesnell of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "Nor do we fully understand how the jet streams themselves are generated."

          I’m not quite sure how this solves the mystery.

          Eventually, I suspect that we’ll find that the jet stream on the sun
          responds to electromagnetic forces generated on the earth, as well
          as on other planets.

          I recall a paper from several years ago by Rhodes Fairbridge, in
          which he spoke of the solar retrograde cycle. It seems that Jupiter
          and Neptune end up in the same quadrant of the solar system only
          once about every 180 years. The gravitational pull of those two
          huge planets, said Rhodes,  forces the sun into a retrograde motion
          which, in turn, affects the earth’s magnetic field strength and brings
          colder temperatures to our planet. At every other beat of the solar
          retrograde cycle, we plunge into a little ice age.

          Rather than a gravitational pull, I think a  more likely explanation is
          that those two planets exert an electromagnetic response on the sun.

See entire article: By Dr, Tony Phillips | Credit Science@NASA
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/17jun_jetstream.htm
Thanks to Catherine Lawson, Bretn Mayhew, Winona Campbell, W.G. Campbell, WGW Architects,

          “They think they will be able to predict sunspot activity in the future,”
           says reader Catherine Lawson. “Hope they do better than they have
           on the weather.”

  

 

 

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