solar cycle

A New Marker Might Better Track the Solar Cycle

by Shannon Hall September 5, 2014

Approximately every 11 years the Sun becomes violently active, putting on a show of magnetic activity for aurora watchers and sungazers alike. But the timing of the solar cycle is far from precise, making it hard to determine the exact underlying physics. Typically astronomers use sunspots to map the course of the solar cycle, but […]

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Is the Sun More Active Than it Looks? An Innovative Method to Characterize the Solar Cycle

by David Dickinson August 13, 2013

The Sun has provided no shortage of mysteries thus far during solar cycle #24. And perhaps the biggest news story that the Sun has generated recently is what it isn’t doing. As Universe Today recently reported, this cycle has been an especially weak one in terms of performance. The magnetic polarity flip signifying the peak […]

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Solar Cycle #24: On Track to be the Weakest in 100 Years

by David Dickinson July 29, 2013

Our nearest star has exhibited some schizophrenic behavior thus far for 2013. By all rights, we should be in the throes of a solar maximum, an 11-year peak where the Sun is at its most active and dappled with sunspots. Thus far though, Solar Cycle #24 has been off to a sputtering start, and researchers […]

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Happy (or is it Merry?) Aphelion This Friday

by David Dickinson July 2, 2013

This 4th of July weekend brings us one more reason to celebrate. On July 5th at approximately 11:00 AM EDT/15:00 UT, our fair planet Earth reaches aphelion, or its farthest point from the Sun at 1.0167 Astronomical Units (A.U.s) or 152,096,000 kilometres distant. David Dickinson on Google+

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“Cool” Gas May Be At The Root Of Sunspots

by Tammy Plotner February 1, 2012

Although well over 40 years old, the Dunn Solar Telescope at Sunspot, New Mexico isn’t going to be looking at an early retirement. On the contrary, it has been outfitted with the new Facility Infrared Spectropolarimeter (FIRS) and is already making news on its solar findings. FIRS provides simultaneous spectral coverage at visible and infrared […]

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