Tuesday, October 11, 2011

An Active Sun


The graphic shows the sun today, courtesy of NASA’s Solar Observatory/Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (link). At least eleven sunspots are active here. Sun images are always awesome, and especially so when the sun is on its way to a so-called solar maximum. We’re on our way to such a situation now. An earlier post here (link) give you some more insight into the sun’s cycling life.

I like to check on the sun from time to time. Behind us now is one of the quietest periods in recent solar history. In 2009, for instance, the sun was spot-free on 260 days (71% of the time). The new activity made itself manifest last year—51 spotless days (14%). This years so far, and we’re quite a good ways into the year, indeed we see its end approaching, we’ve only managed 2 spotless days, that’s two, not a typo, thus less than 1 percent of the time.

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