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Sun's behavior baffles astronomers

Could this trigger the next Little Ice Age?

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15 Jun 10 - "An extremely long stretch of low activity in recent years has scientists baffled and scrambling for better forecasting models," says this article on MSN. com.

"An expected minimum of solar activity, between 2008 and 2009, was unusually deep," says science writer Denise Chow. "And while the sun would normally ramp up activity by now, heading into its next cycle, the sun may be on the verge of a weak solar cycle instead."

Image from NASA's Transition Region and Coronal Explorer
shows material erupting from the sun along magnetic coronal loops

"We're witnessing something unlike anything we've seen in 100 years," said David Hathaway of NASA's Marshalll Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

"Sunspots are areas of concentrated magnetic activity that appear as dark dots on the solar surface. The ebb and flow of the sun's magnetic activity, manifested in the appearance of sunspots, make up the solar cycle.

"Hathaway predicts that cycle 24 should reach its peak in mid-2013 at about half the size of the last three cycles. (Italics added.)

       So, government astronomers are finally admitting that this solar cycle
       could be "about half the size" of previous ones.

       But let's face it, they obviously don't really know. What if this cycle drops
       even lower than they expect, say to the levels of the Dalton Minimum, or
       worse yet, even the Maunder Minimum? We could be headed into the next
       Little Ice Age right now.

The article goes on to discuss unusual changes in acoustic frequencies on the sun, along with changes in the jet streams on our magnetic star.

See entire article and video links:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37705466/ns/technology_and_science-space/?gt1=43001
Thanks to Dennis Schmitz and Christine Stewart for this link

 


 

 



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