What’s Down with the Sun? Major Drop in Solar Activity Predicted | NSO

June 14, 2011

** This release was previously distributed to journalists under an embargo that has since expired. {RTF} **

June 14, 2011

Contacts: Dave Dooling, NSO Education and Public Outreach, +1 575-434-7015 (office); +1 575-921-8736 (cell); dooling@nso.edu

Craig DeForest, AAS/SPD Press Officer, +1 303-641-5679 (cell); deforest@boulder.swri.edu

Text & Images: http://www.boulder.swri.edu/~deforest/SPD-sunspot-release


A missing jet stream, fading spots, and slower activity near the poles say that our Sun is heading for a rest period even as it is acting up for the first time in years, according to scientists at the National Solar Observatory (NSO) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

As the current sunspot cycle, Cycle 24, begins to ramp up toward maximum, independent studies of the solar interior, visible surface, and the corona indicate that the next 11-year solar sunspot cycle, Cycle 25, will be greatly reduced or may not happen at all.

The results were announced at the annual meeting of the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society, which is being held this week at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces: http://astronomy.nmsu.edu/SPD2011/

“This is highly unusual and unexpected,” Dr. Frank Hill, associate director of the NSO’s Solar Synoptic Network, said of the results. “But the fact that three completely different views of the Sun point in the same direction is a powerful indicator that the sunspot cycle may be going into hibernation.”

via What’s Down with the Sun? Major Drop in Solar Activity Predicted | NSO


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