Spotless Sun: Blankest Year Since 1954 - and still counting

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Spotless Sun: Blankest Year Since 1954
- and still counting
Sun also growing dimmer

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30 Sep 08: As of Sept. 27, 2008, the sun had been blank (no visible sunspots) on 200 days of the year. To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go back to 1954, when the sun was blank 241 times.
 

          Blankest years of the last half-century. Vertical axis shows number of spotless
          days in each year. The bar for 2008, last updated on Sept. 27th, is still growing.

Seven years ago, a SOHO image taken on the same day was peppered with colossal sunspots, all crackling with solar flares:
See http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/images/blankyear/midi512_blank_2001.gif 

If solar activity continues on this track, we could reach 290 spotless days by the end of December, making it a 100-year event in terms of spotlessness.

"While the solar minimum of 2008 is shaping up to be the deepest of the Space Age, it is still unremarkable compared to the long and deep solar minima of the late 19th and early 20th centuries," says solar physicist David Hathaway of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Hathaway. Those earlier minima routinely racked up 200 to 300 spotless days per year.

"There is also the matter of solar irradiance," says Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center. "Researchers are now seeing the dimmest sun in their records. The change is small, just a fraction of a percent, but significant. Questions about effects on climate are natural if the sun continues to dim."

               Read that again! “Questions about effects on climate are natural
               if the sun continues to dim."

               In other words, it's going to get colder.
 

See entire article by Dr. Tony Phillips
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/30sep_blankyear.htm
Thanks to John Sumption, Dan Hammer, Thomas L., Marc Morano and  Brent Mayhew for this link

See also: http://www.climatepatrol.com/forum/53/4047/pg1/index.php

 



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