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The Sun

Current Solar Activity - NOAA The Sun is the closest star to Earth. The Sun is a huge mass of hot, glowing gas. The Sun is a huge mass of hot, glowing gas. The strong gravitational pull of the Sun holds Earth and the other planets in the solar system in orbit. The Sun's light and heat inuence all of the objects in the solar system and allow life to exist on Earth. The Sun is an average star its size, age, and temperature fall in about the middle of the ranges of these properties for all stars. Astronomers believe that the Sun is about 4.6 billion years old and will keep shining for about another 7 billion years. For humans, the Sun is beautiful and useful, but also powerful and dangerous. As Earth turns, the Sun rises over the eastern horizon in the morning, passes across the sky during the day, and sets in the west in the evening. This movement of the Sun across the sky marks the passage of time during the day. The Sun's movement can produce spectacular sunrises and sunsets under the right atmospheric conditions.

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At night, reected sunlight makes the Moon and planets bright in the night sky. The Sun provides Earth with vast amounts of energy every day. The oceans and seas store this energy and help keep the temperature of Earth at a level that allows a wide variety of life to exist. Plants use the Sun's energy to make food, and plants provide food for other organisms. The Sun's energy also creates wind in Earth's atmosphere. This wind can be harnessed and used to produce power. While it lights our day and provides energy for life, sunlight can also be harmful to people. Human skin is sensitive to ultraviolet light emitted from the Sun. Earth's atmosphere blocks much of the harmful light, but sunlight is still strong enough to burn skin under some conditions. Sunburn is one of the most important risk factors in the development of skin cancers, which can be fatal. Sunlight is also very harmful to human eyes. A person should never look directly at the Sun, even with sunglasses or during an eclipse. The Sun inuences Earth with more than just light. Particles owing from the Sun can disrupt Earth's magnetic eld, and these disruptions can interfere with electronic communications. Sun Wikipedia

Sun Cycles

The solar cycle, or the solar magnetic activity cycle, is a periodic change in the amount of irradiation from the Sun that is experienced on Earth. It has a period of about 11 years, and is one component of solar variation, the other being aperiodic uctuations. Solar variation causes changes in space weather and to some degree weather and climate on Earth. The cycle is observed by counting the frequency and placement of sunspots visible on the Sun. Powered by a hydromagnetic dynamo process, driven by the inductive action of internal solar ows, the solar cycle: Solar maximum or solar max is the period of greatest solar activity in the solar cycle of the sun. During solar maxima, large numbers of sunspots appear. A solar maximum is the period when the sun's magnetic eld lines are the most distorted due to the magnetic eld on the solar equator rotating at a slightly faster pace than at the solar poles. The solar cycle takes an average of about 11 years to go from one solar maximum to the next, with an observed variation in duration of 9 to 14 years for any given solar cycle.

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The last solar maximum was in 2000. The next solar maximum is currently predicted to occur in February 2013 and to be one of the weakest cycles since 1928. The unreliability of solar maxima predictions is demonstrated in that NASA had previously predicted the solar maximum for 2010/2011 and possibly to occur as late as 2012. Previously, on March 10, 2006, NASA researchers had announced that the next solar maximum would be the strongest since the historic maximum in 1859 in which the northern lights could be seen as far south as Rome, approximately 42 north of the equator, by 2011, this appeared to be incorrect. In fact, the solar maximum will be a fairly weak one.

2012
In modern times, the largest solar are measured with instruments occurred on November 4, 2003. This event saturated the GOES detectors, and because of this its classication is only approximate. Initially, extrapolating the GOES curve, it was pegged at X28. Later analysis of the ionospheric effects suggested increasing this estimate to X45. This event produced the rst clear evidence of a new spectral component above 100 GHz. Other large solar ares also occurred on April 2, 2001 (X20), October 28, 2003 (X17.2 & X10), September 7, 2005 (X17), February 17, 2011 (X2), August 9, 2011 (X6.9), and March 6, 2012 (X5.4).

Solar Flares - March 7-10, 2012

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Radio Bursts Spaceweather.com - March 11, 2012 The roaring sounds heard are caused by shock waves plowing through the sun's atmosphere in the aftermath of the explosion. Identifying the Beginnings and Ends of Solar Cycles Live Science - January 6, 2012

A limited number of instruments can tell us about our planet's star: Our knowledge of solar cycles comes from Earth-based satellites and telescopes and theoretical models of solar phenomena based on the laws of physics. One region of the sun is benetting from such a combination of observational and theoretical techniques: The solar convection zone, where sunspots are born. They are then expressed at the solar surface throughout solar cycles. The convection zone occupies the outer 30 percent of the solar interior, and the activity and characteristics of its various sunspots help scientists identify the beginnings and ends of solar cycles, as well as gain insights into the solar 'dynamo' - the physical process that generates the sun's magnetic eld.

2011

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Solar Flare Sparks Biggest Eruption Ever Seen on Sun National Geographic - June 8, 2011 A solar blast that NASA classied as an M-2 explosion erupted from the sun in an impressive display captured by the space agency's cameras. In the amazing blast, a large cloud of charged magnetic particles mushroomed up out of the sun and fell back down, appearing to cover almost half of the solar surface. What shocked scientists was the unusual amount of material that lofted up, expanded, and fell back down over roughly half the surface area of the sun. The event's simultaneous launch of particles into space is called a coronal mass ejection (CME). "This totally caught us by surprise. There wasn't much going on with this spot, but as it came from behind the sun, all of the sudden there was a are and huge ejection of particles," said astrophysicist Phillip Chamberlin of NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), one of several spacecraft that recorded the event. "We've never seen a CME this enormous."

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The sun is heading into Solar Maximum the period of greatest solar activity in the solar cycle of the sun. During solar maximum, sunspots appear. A solar maximum is the period when the sun's magnetic eld lines are the most distorted due to the magnetic eld on the solar equator rotating at a slightly faster pace than at the solar poles. The solar cycle takes an average of about 12 year cycle to go from one solar maximum to the next with an observed variation in duration of 9 to 14 years for any given solar cycle. We are currently in Solar Cycle 24 the 24th solar cycle since 1755, when recording of solar sunspot activity began. It is the current solar cycle, and began on 8 January 2008. The cycle continues to fall below predictions and is currently exhibiting 50% lower sunspot activity than predicted in May 2009. It is predicted that Solar Cycle 24 will peak in May 2013 with about 58 sunspots. This would make it the least active cycle since solar

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cycle 6, which ended in the year 1823 - but you never know as the sun will surprise us.

The Carrington Event

The Carrington Event of September 1859 occurred during a solar minimum cycle and was the most powerful solar storm in recorded history. The largest are, observed by Richard Carrington, became known as the Carrington Super Flare. Just before dawn the next day, skies all over planet Earth erupted in red, green, and purple auroras so brilliant that newspapers could be read as easily as in daylight. Stunning auroras pulsated even at near tropical latitudes over Cuba, the Bahamas, Jamaica, El Salvador, and Hawaii. Spark discharges shocked telegraph operators and set the telegraph paper on re. The solar are was so unusual, researchers still aren't sure how to categorize it. As 2011 unfolds, the sun is once again on the eve of a solar minimum cycle - at least that's what forecasters are saying. Don't bet on it. A similar storm today might knock us for a loop affecting power grids, GPS, and satellite communications and anything vulnerable to solar storms. CMEs affect planetary magnetics, sparking geomagnetic storms shifting ocean and jet stream currents in the Pacic Ring of Fire, creating unusual and extreme global weather patterns, creating unstoppable Earth changes, and affecting the behavior patterns of all sentient life forms. The Carrington Event of 1859 reminds us that strong solar storms

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can occur even when the underlying cycle is nominally weak.

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Sunspots and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations Maurice Cottrell There appears to be a correlation between the rise and fall of civilizations with the rise and fall of radiation from the sun. The graph shows a long-term envelope of sunspot activity derived from the center graph of Carbon 14. More carbon 14 is absorbed in the growth rings of tress during the sunspot minima. Sunspot minima also correlates with mini-ice ages and a winter severity index based on a mean for Paris and London - for the period shown. The Maya disappeared during a sunspot minimum.

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Solar Flares - Coronal Mass Ejections


Ongoing coronal mass ejections (CMEs) reach Earth effecting planetary magnetics, sparking geomagnetic storms, shifting ocean and jet stream currents in the Pacic Ring of Fire, creating unusual and extreme global weather patterns, creating unstoppable Earth changes, and affecting the behavior patterns of all sentient life forms.

Sun Cycles - Solar Max - Sun Cycle 24 - Sunspots and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations

Flux Transfer Event

A ux transfer event (FTE) occurs when a magnetic portal opens in the Earth's magnetosphere through which high-energy particles ow from the Sun. This connection, while previously thought to be permanent, has been found to be brief and very dynamic. The European Space Agency's four Cluster spacecraft and NASA's ve THEMIS probes have own through and surrounded these FTEs, measuring their dimensions and identifying the particles that are transferred between the magnetic elds. Earth's magnetosphere and the Sun's magnetic eld are constantly pressed against one another on the dayside of Earth. Approximately every eight minutes, these elds briey merge, forming a temporary "portal" between the Earth and the Sun through which high-energy particles such as solar wind can ow. The portal takes the shape of
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a magnetic cylinder about the width of Earth. Current observations place the portal at up to 4 times the size of the earth. Since Cluster and THEMIS have directly sampled FTEs, scientists can simulate FTEs on computers to predict how they might behave. Jimmy Raeder of the University of New Hampshire told his colleagues simulations show that the cylindrical portals tend to form above Earth's equator and then roll over Earth's winter pole. In December, FTEs roll over the north pole; in July they roll over the south pole. Magnetic elds similar to Earth's are common throughout known space and many undergo similar ux transfer events. During its second yby of the planet on October 6, 2008, the NASA probe MESSENGER discovered that Mercurys magnetic eld shows a magnetic reconnection rate ten times higher than Earth's. Mercury's proximity to the sun only accounts for about a third of the reconnection rate observed by MESSENGER and the cause of this discrepancy is not currently known. Strange Portal Connects Earth to Sun Space.com - November 3, 2008 Like giant, cosmic chutes between the Earth and sun, magnetic portals open up every eight minutes or so to connect our planet with its host star. Once the portals open, loads of high-energy particles can travel the 93 million miles (150 million km) through the conduit during its brief opening, space scientists say. Called a ux transfer event, such cosmic connections not only exist but are possibly twice as common as anyone ever imagined.

Analemma

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In astronomy, an analemma (from Greek "pedestal of a sundial") is a curve representing the angular offset of a celestial body (usually the Sun) from its mean position on the celestial sphere as viewed from another celestial body relative to the viewing body's celestial equator. The term is commonly applied nowadays to the gure traced in the sky when the position of the Sun is plotted at the same time each day over a calendar year from a particular location on Earth. Knowing that Earth's average solar day is almost exactly 24 hours,[clarication needed] an analemma can be traced by plotting the position of the Sun as viewed from a xed position on Earth at the same time every day for an entire year. The resulting curve resembles a gure of eight, but on other solar system bodies it may be very different because of the interplay between the tilt of each body's axis and the elliptical shape of its orbit.

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Analemma Over the Porch of Maidens NASA - December 21, 2008

The Sun in Mythology

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Creation is often linked to a combination of the Sun (Male) and Moon (Goddess) - representing duality in physical reality. A solar deity - sun god or goddess - represents the sun, or an aspect of it, usually by its perceived power and strength. Solar deities and sun worship can be found throughout most of recorded history in various forms. Hence, many beliefs have formed around this worship, such as the "missing sun" found in many cultures. In different religions solar supreme deities carry different names and are associated with different aspects of the cultural universe of the society, but for the most part its raw image remains identical. The Neolithic concept of a solar barge, the sun as traversing the sky in a boat, is found in the later myths of ancient Egypt, with Ra and Horus. Earlier Egyptian myths imply that the sun is within the lioness, Sekhmet, at night and can be seen reected in her eyes or that it is within the cow, Hathor during the night, being reborn each morning as her son (bull). Proto-Indo-European religion has a solar chariot, the sun as traversing the sky in a chariot. During the Roman Empire, a festival of the birth of the Unconquered Sun (or Dies Natalis Solis Invicti) was celebrated on the winter solstice - the "rebirth" of the sun. In Germanic mythology this is Sol, in Vedic Surya, and in Greek Helios (occasionally referred to as Titan) and (sometimes) as Apollo. Mesopotamian Shamash plays an important role during the Bronze Age, and "my Sun" is eventually used as an address to royalty. Similarly, South American cultures have emphatic Sun worship, see Inti. See also Sol Invictus. Svarog is the Slavic god sun and spirit of re. During the later periods of Roman history, sun worship gained in importance and ultimately led to what has been called a solar monotheism. Nearly all the gods of the period were possessed of solar qualities. The feast of Sol Invictus (Unconquered Sun) on December 25 was celebrated with great joy, and eventually this date was taken over by the Christians as Christmas, the celebrated birthday of Christ. Sun Gods Wikipedia

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The Sun in Culture


Humans have long recognized the Sun's role in supporting life on Earth, and as a result many societies throughout history have paid homage to the Sun by giving it prominent roles in their religions and mythologies. The Sun is sometimes referred to by its Latin name Sol or by its Greek name Helios. The English word sun stems from Old High German sunna, but took the male gender of the Latin sol (the sun, "he", but now also "it"). Its astrological and astronomical symbol is a circle with a point at its center.

The ancient Greeks grouped the Sun together with the other celestial bodies which moved across the sky (in relation to the stareld), calling them all planets. This was before the acceptance of heliocentrism.

The worship of the Sun in the Eastern world has its historical origin in Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians identied the Sun with Ra, one of the major deities in their religion, and the visible disk of the Sun (known as Aten) was either seen as the body or the eye of Ra. The pharaoh Akhenaten established a monotheistic religion during his reign, with Aten as its central gure. In Hindu religious literature, the Sun is notably mentioned as the visible form of God that one can see every day. In Hinduism, Surya is the chief solar deity, son of Dyaus Pitar. The ritual of sandhyavandanam, performed by some Hindus, is meant to worship the Sun. Many scripts from Hindu mythology referred the sun as a King, who

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rides on a chariot seven horses (this is indication of seven colors from Sunlight). In the Qur'an, the Islamic religious scripture, the Sun like other celestial objects is not endowed with any particular religious signicance or symbolic meaning. Due to the widespread presence of Sun-worshiping cults in Pre-Islamic Arabia, Muslim doctrine, the Shariah forbade all prayers during the rising and setting of the Sun, to symbolically refute its divinity. Pre-Islamic Arab pagans considered solar eclipses and other celestial occurrences as omens signaling the passing of an important gure or other earthly events. However, this belief was refuted explicitly by the Prophet Muhammad in the year 632 C.E, when the death of his son coincided with a solar eclipse: "The Sun and the Moon are from among the evidences of God. They do not eclipse because of someone's death or life." The religious signicance of the Sun has its roots in the very earliest of recorded Western history. Both the ancient Greeks and ancient Romans worshipped one or more solar deities. Many Greek myths personify the Sun as a Titan named Helios, who wore a shining crown and rode a chariot across the sky, causing day. Over time, the Sun became increasingly associated with Apollo. Icarus attempted to y but the sun melted his wings. The Roman Empire adopted Helios into their own mythology as Sol. The title Sol Invictus ("the undefeated Sun") was applied to several solar deities, and depicted on several types of Roman coins during the 3rd and 4th centuries. The birth of "the undefeated Sun" was celebrated on the 25th of December from at least as early as 354.

In the News ...

Scientists prove existence of 'magnetic ropes' that cause solar storms PhysOrg - June 16, 2011 Conrming the existence of this formation is a key rst step in helping to mitigate the adverse effects that solar storm eruptions can have on satellite communications on Earth. Dim Sun Helped Send Earth into Little Ice Age, Study Suggests Live Science - June 7, 2011 A dearth of bright spots on the sun might have contributed to a frigid period known as the "little ice age" in the middle of the past millennium, researchers suggest. From the 1500s to the 1800s, much of Europe and North America were plunged into what came to be called the little ice age. The coolest part of this cold spell coincided with a 75-year period beginning in 1645 when astronomers detected almost no sunspots on the sun, a time now referred to as the Maunder Minimum.

First ever STEREO images of the entire Sun PhysOrg - February 7, 2011

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On Feb. 6th, NASA's twin STEREO probes moved into position on opposite sides of the sun, and they are now beaming back uninterrupted images of the entire star -- front and back. "For the rst time ever, we can watch solar activity in its full 3-dimensional glory," says Angelos Vourlidas, a member of the STEREO science team at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, DC. New images show cloud exploding from Sun ripples like clouds on Earth PhysOrg - February 4, 2011

Physicists, led by a researcher at the University of Warwick, studying new images of clouds of material exploding from the Sun have spotted instabilities forming in that exploding cloud that are similar to those seen in clouds in Earths atmosphere. Hole in the Sun NASA - August 28, 2010

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This ominous, dark shape sprawling across the face of the Sun is a coronal hole -- a low density region extending above the surface where the solar magnetic eld opens freely into interplanetary space. Studied extensively from space since the 1960s in ultraviolet and x-ray light, coronal holes are known to be the source of the high-speed solar wind, atoms and electrons which ow outward along the open magnetic eld lines. During periods of low activity, coronal holes typically cover regions just above the Sun's poles. But this extensive coronal hole dominated the Sun's northern hemisphere earlier this week, captured here in extreme ultraviolet light by cameras onboard the Solar Dynamics Observatory. The solar wind streaming from this coronal hole triggered auroral displays on planet Earth. The strange case of solar ares and radioactive elements PhysOrg - August 24, 2010 The radioactive decay of some elements sitting quietly in laboratories on Earth seemed to be inuenced by activities inside the sun, 93 million miles away. Oldest Material in Solar System Found National Geographic - August 23, 2010 Discovery suggests exploding star kick-started our sun. Pea-size minerals inside a meteorite are the oldest known material in the solar system, a new study says. At 4,568.2 million years old, the minerals push back the birth of the solar system by as much as two million years - and suggests that an exploding star injected key materials into our system as it was being born, researchers say.

Music of the sun recorded by scientists Telegraph.co.uk - June 21, 2010

The sun has been the inspiration for hundreds of songs, but now scientists have discovered that the star at the centre of our solar system produces its own music. Astronomers at the University of Shefeld have managed to record for the rst time the eerie musical harmonies produced by the magnetic eld in the outer atmosphere of the sun. They found that huge magnetic loops that have been observed coiling away from the outer layer of the sun's atmosphere, known as coronal loops, vibrate like strings on a musical instrument.

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New Space Telescope Delivers First Mind-Blowing Video of the Sun Wired - April 21, 2010

Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory returns rst images BBC - April 22, 2010 NASA Solar Observatory's First Shots - Sun Gets in the Loop National Geographic - April 22, 2010 A huge loop of material shooting up from the sun's surface in March was one of the rst events witnessed by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. Known as a prominence eruption, the loop was born from a relatively cold cloud of plasma, or charged gas, tenuously tethered to the sun's surface by magnetic forces. Such clouds can erupt dramatically when they break free of the sun's unstable hold. Eclipses Yield First Images of Elusive Iron Line in Solar Corona PhysOrg - January 4, 2010

Close-Up Photos of Dying Star Show Our Sun's Fate Science Daily - December 17, 2009

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About 550 light-years from Earth, a star like our Sun is writhing in its death throes. Chi Cygni has swollen in size to become a red giant star so large that it would swallow every planet out to Mars in our solar system. Moreover, it has begun to pulse dramatically in and out, beating like a giant heart. New close-up photos of the surface of this distant star show its throbbing motions in unprecedented detail. As a sunlike star ages, it begins to run out of hydrogen fuel at its core. Like a car running out of gas, its "engine" begins to splutter. On Chi Cygni, we see those splutterings as a brightening and dimming, caused by the star's contraction and expansion. Stars at this life stage are known as Mira variables after the rst such example, Mira "the Wonderful," discovered by David Fabricius in 1596. As it pulses, the star is pufng off its outer layers, which in a few hundred thousand years will create a beautifully gleaming planetary nebula. Japans space agency is planning to construct a solar power station in space and use it to beam energy down to Earth using lasers Telegraph.co.uk - November 11, 2009

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa) hopes that the ambitious plans will help ease the countrys energy problems as well as providing a solution for global warming. A select group of companies and researchers have been given the task of designing and building the Space Solar Power System (SSPS). The plan is to create a miles-wide array of photovoltaic panels, like the solar panels used on Earth, and place it in a geostationary orbit. Solar rays are at least ve times as powerful in space as they are at ground level, allowing the huge panels to gather vast quantities of energy. A report by researchers at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said:

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"Since solar power is a clean and inexhaustible energy source, we believe that this system will be able to help solve the problems of energy shortage and global warming. Solar Cycle Driven by More than Sunspots PhysOrg - September 17, 2009 When the solar cycle was at a minimum level in 1996, the Sun sprayed Earth with relatively few, weak high-speed streams containing turbulent magnetic elds. In contrast, the Sun bombarded Earth with stronger and longer-lasting streams last year even though the solar cycle was again at a minimum level. The streams affected Earth's outer radiation belt, posing a threat to earth-orbiting satellites, and triggered space weather disturbances, lighting up auroras in the sky at higher latitudes. Sunspots Revealed In Striking Detail By Supercomputers Science Daily - June 22, 2009

In a breakthrough that will help scientists unlock mysteries of the Sun and its impacts on Earth, an international team of scientists led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) has created the rst-ever comprehensive computer model of sunspots. The resulting visuals capture both scientic detail and remarkable beauty. Cartwheel Coronal Mass Ejection NASA - May 27, 2008

Visions of Sun's great 'belches' BBC - April 15, 2008 Here's a strange scenario: You move farther away from a re, getting cooler and cooler, until suddenly you are burning up. That's essentially what happens in the sun: Its outer layer, the corona, is inexplicably hot. A new study may complicate things further by poking holes in a leading theory that aims to account for the puzzling phenomenon. New Kink in Sun's Strange Corona Space.com - March 24, 2008 Here's a strange scenario: You move farther away from a re, getting cooler and cooler, until suddenly you are burning up. That's essentially what happens in the sun: Its outer layer, the corona, is inexplicably hot. A new

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study may complicate things further by poking holes in a leading theory that aims to account for the puzzling phenomenon. Sun's Magnetic Secret Revealed Space.com - January 22, 2008 Powerful magnetic waves have been conrmed for the rst time as major players in the process that makes the sun's atmosphere strangely hundreds of times hotter than its already superhot surface. The magnetic waves called Alfven waves - can carry enough energy from the sun's active surface to heat its atmosphere, or corona. The surface and corona are chock full of these things, and they're very energetic. Mysterious Solar Ripples Detected For The First Time Space.com - December 30, 2007

Mysterious waves that help transport the sun's energy out into space have been detected by scientists for the rst time. Researchers hope their discovery of the energetic ripples, known as Alfvan waves, will shed light on other solar phenomena such as the sun's magnetic elds and its super-hot corona, or outermost atmosphere. A new video shows the ripples in action. Scientists Conrm Long-held Theory About Source Of Sunshine Science Daily - August 21, 2007 A monumental experiment buried deep beneath the mountains of Italy has provided Princeton physicists with a clearer understanding of the sun's heart -- and of a mysterious class of subatomic particles born there. In stars the size of the sun, most solar energy is produced by a complex chain of nuclear reactions that converts hydrogen into helium. Beginning with protons from hydrogen's nucleus, the chain takes one of several routes that all end with the creation of a helium nucleus and the production of sunlight. Steps along two of these routes require the presence of the element beryllium, and physicists have theorized that these steps are responsible for creating about 10 percent of the sun's neutrinos. But technological limitations had made the theory difcult to test until now. Global warming and cooling linked to the sunspot cycle New Scientist - August 14, 2007 ide heating and cooling of the atmosphere during the 11-year sunspot cycle has been measured for the rst time. Climate-change sceptics may seize on the ndings as evidence that the sun's variability can explain global warming - but mathematician Ka-Kit Tung says quite the contrary is true. The 11-year cycle is the shortest of a number of known oscillations in the solar radiation reaching the Earth. Tung says the sun is currently at a low point in the 11-year cycle. Unless other inuences like volcanic eruptions or El Ninos intervene, we can expect strong warming of the atmosphere in the next ve years, as an upturn in the cycle reinforces human-generated warming. Solar Tornadoes Thunderbolts - June 15, 2007

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Sunspots are strange blemishes on the face of the Sun that offer some of the strongest evidence against the Sun being powered internally. They are conventionally described as being a result of strong magnetic elds pinching off the convection of heat from inside the Sun before it can reach the surface. The electric star interpretation is that sunspots are breaks in the hot surface of the sun, through which we can get a glimpse of the underlying layers. To satisfy the standard theory, these deeper layers of the Sun should be hotter to drive the so-called vigorous convection. But they aren't. The dark center of the sunspot, or umbra, is 20% cooler than the rest of the surface of the Sun. The outer shadow of the sunspot, or penumbra, and the structure and behavior of the laments that form the penumbra are also too complex to be explained by standard stellar theory. Sun's "Ring of Fire" Stoked by Sound Waves National Geographic - May 31, 2007 It has been a burning mystery for decades: Why is a thin, irregular region of the sun's atmosphere known as the chromosphere much hotter than the star's visible surface? The answer, scientists recently proposed, could be stellar sound. Magnetic elds send sound waves from the sun's interior shooting upward, creating fountains of hot gas that shape and power the chromosphere. Harnessing the Power of the Sun SETI - April 20, 2007 Science, even by reputable practitioners, proceeds in ts, starts, and frequent excursions down blind alleys. As example, in 1877 astronomers on both sides of the Atlantic observed things about Mars that had the potential for making SETI a done deal, a fait accompli.

A Massive Explosion on the Sun (Cool movie) NASA - April 24, 2007 First 3-D Images of Sun Unveiled National Geographic - April 24, 2007

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The Sun in Three Dimensions NASA - April 24, 2007 New Phenomena on the Sun + Video NASA - March 22, 2007

A magnetic vortex almost as big as Earth Telescope imaged million-degree gas spiraling up from sunspots MSNBC - March 21, 2007

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Like cosmic rubber bands, twisted magnetic structures along the suns surface can release massive amounts of energy when relaxed. The discharge could be the hidden source that heats up the atmosphere of the sun. While the suns surface is a steamy 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit (5,538 degrees Celsius), gas oating above in the so-called corona soars to more than 100 times hotter. Astronomers have long puzzled over the source of the coronas heat. Sunspot 930 announced itself on Dec. 5th with one of the strongest ares in years--an X9, followed by an X6 on Dec. 6th, an X3 on Dec. 13th and an X1 on Dec. 14th. - Space Weather.com

A Large Tsunami Shock Wave on the Sun (Animation) NASA - December 13, 2006 Sunspot Penumbra Shock Astrophysicists Thunderbolts - April 18, 2006

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Textbook theory of sunspot activity faces new difculties posed by the magnetically conned structures of the penumbra. The old idea that the penumbra laments are convection currents must now give way to new evidence that electric currents dominate these solar structures. Solar Minimum has Arrived NASA - March 6, 2006 Sun's Changes to Blame for Part of Global Warming Live Science - October 1, 2005 Increased output from the Sun might be to blame for 10 to 30 percent of global warming that has been measured in the past 20 years, according to a new report. Increased emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases still play a role, the scientists say. NASA's Chandra Neon Discovery Solves Solar Paradox Science Daily - July 29, 2005

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory survey of nearby sun-like stars suggests there is nearly three times more neon in the sun and local universe than previously believed. If true, this would solve a critical problem with understanding how the sun works.

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Deep Roots Of Solar Wind Help Predict Space Weather Across Solar System Science Daily - May 25, 2005

A layer deep in the solar atmosphere can be used to estimate the speed of the solar wind, a stream of electried gas that constantly blows from the Sun. Estimating the speed of the solar wind will improve space weather forecasts, enhancing our ability to protect communications, navigation, and other satellites from the effects of solar storms. We will also be able to warn human explorers on their way to the planets of the severity of those storms. Solar Outbursts Protected Early Earth Scientic American May 11, 2005

The early sun produced powerful x-ray emissions that may have helped to ensure the survival of our planet, scientists say. Data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory suggest that violent x-ray ares, which reached temperatures of 100 million kelvins, may have rocked the surrounding disk from which planets formed and prevented Earth from rapidly spiraling into the sun and being destroyed. Heavenly signs that scared Roman rulers help astronomers study the Sun Astronomy Magazine - May 13, 2005 In 200 B.C., authorities of the Roman Republic recorded such events with the enthusiasm of a modern tabloid. While these omens cataloged by ancient historians won't tell us much about heaven's wrath, astronomers say

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they form an indirect record of what the Sun was doing 2,000 years ago. The work of Roman historian Titus Livius (Livy, in English), who lived from 59 B.C. A.D. 17, formed the basis of both studies. Livy's Ab Urbe Condita, written in the time of the rst emperors, chronicles Rome's history with the help of written records dating back hundreds of years. Many times, he reports how Romans interpreted natural events as warnings that something was amiss in the relationship between the state and its gods. Solar Flares and Astronauts NASA - January 27, 2005

On January 20th, 2005, a giant sunspot named "NOAA 720" exploded. The blast sparked an X-class solar are, the most powerful kind, and hurled a billion-ton cloud of electried gas (a "coronal mass ejection") into space. Solar protons accelerated to nearly light speed by the explosion reached the Earth-Moon system minutes after the are the beginning of a days-long "proton storm." The Sun Is More Active Now Than Over The Last 8000 Years Science Daily - November 1, 2004

The activity of the Sun over the last 11,400 years, i.e., back to the end of the last ice age on Earth, has now for the rst time been reconstructed quantitatively by an international group of researchers led by Sami K. Solanki from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany). The scientists have analyzed the radioactive isotopes in trees that lived thousands of years ago. As the scientists from Germany, Finland, and Switzerland report in the current issue of the science journal "Nature" from October 28, one needs to go back over 8,000 years in order to nd a time when the Sun was, on average, as active as in the last 60 years. Based on a statistical study of earlier periods of increased solar activity, the researchers predict that the

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Sun - Astronomy, Solar Maximum, Sunspots and the Rise and Fa...

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current level of high solar activity will probably continue only for a few more decades. How Strongly Does The Sun Inuence The Global Climate? Science Daily - August 2004 Since the middle of the last century, the Sun is in a phase of unusually high activity, as indicated by frequent occurrences of sunspots, gas eruptions, and radiation storms. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Katlenburg-Lindau (Germany) and at the University of Oulu (Finland) have come to this conclusion after they have succeeded in reconstructing the solar activity based on the sunspot frequency since 850 AD. To this end, they have combined historical sunspot records with measurements of the frequency of radioactive isotopes in ice cores from Greenland and the Antarctic. As the scientists have reported in the renowned scientic journal, Physical Review Letters, since 1940 the mean sunspot number is higher than it has ever been in the last thousand years and two and a half times higher than the long term average. The temporal variation in the solar activity displays a similarity to that of the mean temperature of the Earth. Sunspots reaching 1,000-year high BBC - July 2004 A new analysis shows that the Sun is more active now than it has been at anytime in the previous 1,000 years. Scientists based at the Institute for Astronomy in Zurich used ice cores from Greenland to construct a picture of our star's activity in the past. They say that over the last century the number of sunspots rose at the same time that the Earth's climate became steadily warmer. The warming is being amplied by gases from fossil fuel burning, they argue. Sunspots have been monitored on the Sun since 1610, shortly after the invention of the telescope. They provide the longest-running direct measurement of our star's activity. The variation in sunspot numbers has revealed the Sun's 11-year cycle of activity as well as other, longer-term changes. In particular, it has been noted that between about 1645 and 1715, few sunspots were seen on the Sun's surface. This period is called the Maunder Minimum after the English astronomer who studied it. A Green Flash from the Sun NASA - March 21, 2004

Many think it is just a myth. Others think it is true but its cause isn't known. Adventurers pride themselves on

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having seen it. It's a green ash from the Sun. The truth is the green ash does exist and its cause is well understood. Just as the setting Sun disappears completely from view, a last glimmer appears startlingly green. The effect is typically visible only from locations with a low, distant horizon, and lasts just a few seconds. A green ash is also visible for a rising Sun, but takes better timing to spot. A dramatic green ash was caught in the above photograph in 1992 from Finland. The Sun itself does not turn partly green, the effect is caused by layers of the Earth's atmosphere acting like a prism. Sun 'sheds its skin like a snake' BBC - November 24, 2003

Astronomers have discovered a key fact required to understand the Sun's 11-year cycle of activity. Sunspots and ares on the Sun's surface follow the cycle, but expelled gas clouds do not. It seems that these ejections trail the sunspot peak - they peaked in 2002, two years after sunspots. The expelled gas takes away the Sun's old magnetic skin allowing a new one to emerge to start a new cycle. Huge rock-ice body circles Sun BBC - November 17, 2003

Astronomers have found a large object orbiting the Sun near Neptune's orbit. It was discovered on Friday by an automated sky survey project designed to search for threatening asteroids that may be on an Earth impact course. The object is about 570 km across, making it one of the largest bodies of its kind found in modern times. The new body, made of rock and ice, is designated 2003 VS2. Re-examining past records, astronomers have found it in images taken as far back as 1998.

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Solar are 'reproduced' in lab BBC - November 11, 2003

Scientists have simulated a solar are in the lab, recreating the super-heated cloud of electrically-charged gas seen on the Sun known as a plasma. It was part of an initiative to develop fusion power - the nuclear energy that keeps the Sun shining. The plasma in the lab behaved like a miniature version of a solar are. Scientists hope they can create a are at low energies in the lab, to enable them to study the explosive events that take place on the Sun's surface.

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