Monday, October 06, 2008

Is the sun sick? 205 days without a sunspot this year.

So far this year, the sun has had 205 days without a sunspot, reports the NY Times. This is the first time since 1954 the number has reached that level. In August there was just one sunspot (a tiny speck, which Pound360 isn't sure was officially counted).

Solar wind activity is also sagging. According to the Times report, solar wind activity is at a 50 year low. And it appears to be in "long-term decline" since "the current minimum is about a quarter weaker than during the last solar minimum."

Could the sun's inactivity have an affect on Earth's climate? Yes. In the past, periods of solar sluggishness have led to cooling on earth, including the "Little Ice Age" of the late 1600s.

(Image of a sun without spots from July 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.