New solar cycle has begun

Not by Fire but by Ice

THE NEXT ICE AGE - NOW!

Discover What Killed the Dinosaurs . . . and Why it Could Soon Kill Us

9 November 07
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Hang on to your cell phone, a new solar cycle has begun

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10 Jan 08 - "On January 4, 2008, a reversed-polarity sunspot appeared—and this signals the start of Solar Cycle 24," says David Hathaway of the Marshall Space Flight Center.
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"New solar cycles always begin with a high-latitude, reversed polarity sunspot," explains Hathaway. "Reversed polarity" means a sunspot with opposite magnetic polarity compared to sunspots from the previous solar cycle. "High-latitude" refers to the sun's grid of latitude and longitude. Old cycle spots congregate near the sun's equator. New cycle spots appear higher, around 25 or 30 degrees latitude.

The sunspot that appeared on January 4th fits both these criteria. It was high latitude (30 degrees N) and magnetically reversed. NOAA named the spot AR10981, or "sunspot 981" for short.

Sunspot 981 was small--only about as wide as Earth--and has already faded away. But its three- day appearance on Jan. 4-6 was enough to convince most solar physicists that Solar Cycle 24 is underway.

"Solar storms can disable satellites that we depend on for weather forecasts and GPS navigation," says Hathaway. Radio bursts from solar flares can directly interfere with cell phone reception while coronal mass ejections (CMEs) hitting Earth can cause electrical power outages. "The most famous example is the Quebec outage of 1989, which left some Canadians without power for as much as six days."

Air travel can be affected, too.

"Solar storms have a big effect on polar regions of our planet," says Steve Hill of the Space Weather Prediction Center. "When airplanes fly over the poles during solar storms, they can experience radio blackouts, navigation errors and computer reboots all caused by space radiation."

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/10jan_solarcycle24.htm?friend(or
Thanks to Winona Campbell for this link


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Order Book I Q & A I Book Reviews I Plant Hardiness Zone Maps I Radio Interviews I Table of Contents I Excerpts I Author Photo I Pacemaker of the Ice Ages I Extent of Previous Glaciation I Crane Buried in Antarctic Ice Sheet I Ice Ages and Magnetic Reversals I It's Ocean Warming I E-Mail Robert at rwfelix@juno.com l Expanding Glaciers