Friday, June 13, 2008

Astronomer: The Sun is Strangely 'Dead'

The sun has been remarkably boring, according to a recent ScienceDaily report. Strangely, there's been little in the way of sunspots, solar flares or solar eruptions up there. And no one seems to know why. Could the sun be gearing up for a big show that could cause serious satellite disruptions? Or could we be on the verge of an ice age?

You may recall last month that Pound360
blogged about a German climate report predicting a cool period over the next ten years. Could the climate be linked to the sun cycle?

Scientists know the sun behaves in 11 year cycles, with peak activity occurring in the middle. The recent cycle ends about now. So it could just be the typical cycle. However, past astronomers have observed up to 50 years without any sunspots (between 1650 and 1700). As it turns out, a little ice age spanned that period.

So far, the sun has gone about two years without a sun spot. According to ScienceDaily, that's "longer than usual." Said one Japanese astronomer speaking at a solar conference about the sun, "it continues to be dead… that's a small concern."

(Photo courtesy NASA)

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.