Spotless Streak Continues

Posted August 27, 2009 by User 1


When was the last time you remember seeing a sunspot on the surface of the sun? How long has it been? According to the SOHO images, it's been 48 days. The last sunspot seen before this streak was part of Active Region (AR) 1024. It produced the strongest solar flares of 2 years before it rotated out of view on July 11.

The coming of AR1024 led many to believe that solar minimum was finally coming to a close. The void of sunspots which came next killed off those thoughts. This is currently the second longest streak without sunspots since 1913, being surpassed only by a similar streak this time last year. Yet, with that one being 52 days, it's only matter of time before this sets the new record.

So why is this happening? It could be the result of a weakening magnetic field (of the sunspots) as shown from this report: http://www.leif.org/EOS/2009EO300001.pdf The results are still preliminary and should not be taken positively yet. However, should it turn up true, sunspots may disappear completely sometime in the future.

On the other hand, this NASA report says that the deep minimum is just the result of a slower-than-normal solar jet stream: http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/17jun_jetstream.htm According to that, normal activity should resume shortly. So far, that isn't happening.

So which will end up being right? That is left up to the sun to decide. It has deceived us before and nothing says that it can't do so again.


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