“Maybe the sun really means business this time!”

After months of malaise and anemic sunspecks, the sun finally creates a respectable spot.While lower towards the equator than expected, it has been identified as a cycle 24 spot.

SOHO_latest

The sun today, showing region 1029 - click for very large image

From SpaceWeather.com: The sun is showing signs of life. Over the weekend, sunspot 1029 emerged and it is crackling with B- and C-class solar flares. Amateur astronomer Gianluca Valentini of Rimini, Italy, took this picture just hours ago:

“Incredible size and structure for this sunspot after such a long time of mini-events–maybe the sun really means business this time!” says Valentini.

In Ocean Beach, California, Michael Buxton made a movie of the active region: play it. “My girlfriend and I watched the magnetic fibrils around the sunspot as they surged and swirled,” he says. “It was a wonderful area of activity.”

The sunspot’s magnetic polarity identifies it as a member of new Solar Cycle 24. If it continues to grow at this rate, sunspot 1029 could soon become the biggest sunspot of 2009. Readers with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor developments.

Here’s some solar indices from SWPC

Solar_indices102609

According to solarcycle24.com here are the “records” for cycle24 so far:

SOLAR FLUX – 76 (9/23/2009 – bested today with 81, SWPC confirms)

SUNSPOT # – 32 (9/24/2009)

FLARE – C2.7 (7/5/2009)

DAYS IN A ROW WITH A SUNSPOT – 11 (10/1/2009)

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117 Responses to “Maybe the sun really means business this time!”

  1. Question to those who know about these matters: If this spot is so near to the equator does it mean that solar cycle 24 is near its end?
    Or is it perhaps a losen v-belt running the solar dynamo? :-)

  2. Bulldust says:

    In before the Leif?

  3. Steve Huntwork says:

    The low latitude was my first question today when I saw this image.

  4. william says:

    Looks like sunspot activity will be back on the upswing and temperatures will be climbing again. Gavin Schmidt predicts that the cooling is over and that 2010 will be warmer.

  5. tokyoboy says:

    Where’s the GOALPOST now?

  6. littlepeaks says:

    I haven’t seen anything about M-Class or X-Class flares discussed. I wonder when the last M-Class flare occurred and how this frequency compares to more typical sunspot minimums.

  7. Rupert says:

    Does one sunpot a summer make however?

  8. Ray says:

    Will it be like last time the sun showed a decent sunspot… after giving such show it went back in the coma for a very long time. It’s like it’s giving all it has to fall even lower… hummm, just like excitation electronic transition mechanism.

  9. Mick says:

    It’s alive, it’s a live!

    OK, who charged the defibrillator? Or was it a lightning …

  10. Eddie Murphy says:

    Reminds me of what someone posted and reposted to me on a forum…

    http://www.predictweather.co.nz/assets/articles/article_resources.php?id=89

    “Cycle 24 is a while off. From July 2007 to 25/3/2008 the situation is that cycle 23 that began in 1996 still reigns and has for the moment really caught a blossoming. From Cycle 24 there is a single tiny signature in 4.1.2008 and then nothing. Through March 2008 we have had 16 spotless days, one spot group from cycle 23 (southern hemisphere) on 7 days thus far, two spot groups from cycle 23 (SH) on 2 days thus far (24.3.-), three spot groups from cycle 23 (SH) on 1 day thus far (25.3.-) and no spots from cycle 24 thus far. Cycle 24 will take a while and there is a transition period. The orbits of the two gas giants Jupiter and Saturn but mainly Jupiter, dominate sunspot production. The relevant points of orbit are opposition (Jupiter and Saturn 180deg apart, or on opposite sides of the sun) and conjunction (Jupiter and Saturn in line with and on same side as the sun). Jupiter is now in the same position as in March 1996, which was a month in which cycle 23 had not yet kicked in.

    Consider this:
    the peak of SS20 was 1969/70, and the nearest J/S opposition was 1971-72
    the peak of SS21 was 1980/82, and the nearest J/S conjunction was 1981
    the peak of SS22 was 1984/92, and the nearest J/S opposition was 1991
    the peak of SS23 was 1999/02, and the nearest J/S conjunction was 2000-01
    the peak of SS24 should be 2010, and the nearest J/S opposition will be 2011.
    A sunspot is said usually underway about 1-2 years before peak.

    [b]Our calculation therefore is that SS24 should not begin before Sept 09.”[/b]

    I posted this Fri May 15, 2009
    I guess the ‘moon man’ Ken Ring was right, certainly more accurate than a lot of the ‘experts.

  11. Robert E. Phelan says:

    If the “Watts Effect” is a reciprocating mechanism, we may not see another sunspot until March.

  12. Ira says:

    “One swallow does not make a summer, …” Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC).
    Let’s wait for more evidence before we call off the “inconvenient” minimum.

  13. crosspatch says:

    Oh, joy! Maybe we finally have solar maximum!

    STEREO shows nothing but blank sun on the “behind” picture that shows what is due to rotate into view over the next several days.

  14. Lance says:

    As stated already, lets see what the next months bring…..

  15. rbateman says:

    tokyoboy (18:37:09) :

    Goalpost??
    That depends on what the Sun does from here on out, not on what it does in 1 day.
    Our own Dr. Leif Svalgaard predicts the cycle based on Active Region count, not sunspots.
    There is also the observations of Livingston & Penn to account for.
    It’s more like a tug-o-war between the Irresistable Force and the Immovable Object. Which will prevail?

  16. Joe Miner says:

    @ william (18:36:38) :

    Gavin Schmidt predicts that the cooling is over and that 2010 will be warmer.

    I didn’t know that Gavin had even admitted that it had been cooling for the last 10 years.

  17. rbateman says:

    Today’s (10/26/2009 22:24) measurements of SSN 1029:
    Whole spot = 368 x 10E6
    Umbra = 45.6 x 10E6

    Previous record SSN 1024:
    Whole spot = 343.9 x 10E6
    Umbra = 26.2 x 10E6

    All measurements corrected for foreshortening.

  18. Adolfo Giurfa (18:22:25) :
    Question to those who know about these matters: If this spot is so near to the equator does it mean that solar cycle 24 is near its end?
    No, the spread in latitude is not unusual, once the cycle has started for good.

    Eddie Murphy (18:50:17) :
    the peak of SS24 should be 2010, and the nearest J/S opposition will be 2011.
    This seems already to be off the mark.

    rbateman (19:15:55) :
    There is also the observations of Livingston & Penn to account for.
    Bill Livingston reports tha he got some good readings on the group. It will take a couple of days the work up the results. Considering that the spot is large, one might ‘predict’ a magnetic field of 2300 Gauss. Let’s see how it comes out.

  19. Aelric says:

    Two (barely) C-class flares in a 48-hour period is “crackling” with them?

  20. MC says:

    Look for another extended length of time to pass before another sunspot group. The pattern has been in my opinion that when these spots occur, accrued energy is released thereby providing a period of quiet. We’ll see.

    Next, this group is located much closer to the equator of the sun which indicates a mature period of cycle 24. If the next spot group appears at or below this latitude then we should expect a peak to the cycle soon and then a long transition into the end of cycle 24. This brings into question the validity of predictions by Leif of a max cycle sunspot peak of 75 give or take and warrants a closer look at predictions made of a max cycle sunspot number of 45 by Archibald and others.

    If this cycle peaks at 45 or less then a serious relook at what is in store for a cooling climate will be the next order of prediction. In other words the expected Dalton type cooling resulting from a 45 max sunspot number could be revised down due to a lower max sunspot number of less than 45 will be something to consider.

    For everyone who has been following closely the posts of this sight over the last 2 years, closing arguements can be made about who was correct and who was wrong about predicting cycle 24 sunspot activity. I expect when the peak is realized then those who were correct in their prediction can then claim the high ground for their prediction of climate effects in the future. After all “nothing new here but building on the good work of those who preceded us” wouldn’t you say?

  21. Beware of the solar flux value. Is is quoted at Noon to be 81 sfu, but was actually only 80 sfu, as we are moving closer to the Sun. Had this been early January, the values would have been 85 observed and 80 adjusted for distance.

  22. CPT. Charles says:

    At least they put in the word ‘maybe’.

    Forgive me if I don’t hold my breath in anticipation.

  23. savethesharks says:

    Leif Svalgaard (19:37:42) :
    “Beware of the solar flux value. Is is quoted at Noon to be 81 sfu, but was actually only 80 sfu, as we are moving closer to the Sun. Had this been early January, the values would have been 85 observed and 80 adjusted for distance.”

    I don’t understand why the “official” flux reading is not the corrected one, Leif.

    It would certainly save some confusion. Why do they continue to report the unadjusted number?

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  24. Adam from Kansas says:

    There’s also other magnetic areas on the Sun, I guess SC24 had to start up sooner or later.

    Tallbloke has said the quiet Sun has been causing the oceans to go into heat-release mode, I like to ask him this, if the Sun gets and stays active will SST’s go down as the oceans go back to heat-retain mode?

  25. savethesharks (19:57:14) :
    I don’t understand why the “official” flux reading is not the corrected one, Leif.
    It would certainly save some confusion. Why do they continue to report the unadjusted number?

    It is because both numbers are useful. The observed number governs the actual conductivity of the ionosphere important for radio communication. The adjusted one is useful as a purely solar index. What is amazing is that people can be continually confused about this. There is a similar situation with TSI.

  26. Aligner says:

    And now for the heretical stuff … all based on nothing!

    Venus and Mercury conjunction around the 19th, both now straddling Saturn’s line knocking the sun off balance for a short while. You can see Mercury going right to left on LASCO3. Might be a puff or two up to the 2rd or 3rd when Venus crosses Saturn on one side with Uranus opposite. Mercury is roughly opposing Earth at the same time. Will be interesting to see what (if anything) happens. Expect it’ll pretty much go back to sleep again then till 3rd week in March. 1st week of Jan might see a decent spot or two perhaps.

  27. MC (19:34:47) :
    Next, this group is located much closer to the equator of the sun which indicates a mature period of cycle 24
    As you can see from the butterfly diagram, the ‘wings’ have a large spread. There is nothing sensational about a 15 degree latitude even early in the cycle:
    http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/images/bfly.gif

    This brings into question the validity of predictions by Leif of a max cycle sunspot peak of 75 give or take and warrants a closer look at predictions made of a max cycle sunspot number of 45 by Archibald and others.

    Solar activity is magnetic in nature, and predictions are then really about the magnetic field. The sunspot number is somewhat arbitrary in this regard. For the years 1947-1990, there was a reasonable correlation between the magnetic field and the sunspot number. There is no a priory that the correlation must hold at all times. There are, in fact, some indications that it does not. E.g. the Maunder minimum, the recent discrepancy between the F10.7 flux and the sunspot number, and the Livingston & Penn measurements. A better measure might be the F10.7 flux, where SSN=75 corresponds to a flux of 120 sfu. If L&P are correct, we could have SSN=0, but F10.7 = 120 sfu, Another measure would be the number of magnetic active regions [that typically each consist of many spots]. The usual conversion factor is about 12, so that a SSN of, say, 72 corresponds to a number of regions of 72/12=6.
    You will see in the coming years how some people will try to turn these considerations into support for just about any prediction.

  28. twawki says:

    Well we are on track to have more spotless days in 2009 than we had in 2008

  29. Aligner (20:28:34) :
    And now for the heretical stuff
    that is not heretical, but just nonsense.

  30. savethesharks says:

    Leif Svalgaard (20:08:44) :

    Hey….you said “beware the solar flux value”….so that’s why I asked the question.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  31. Eddie Murphy says:

    Leif Svalgaard (19:32:33) : Eddie Murphy (18:50:17) :the peak of SS24 should be 2010, and the nearest J/S opposition will be 2011.
    This seems already to be off the mark.

    I pray so… but a dink cycle could do it.

  32. savethesharks (20:39:08) :
    Hey….you said “beware the solar flux value”….so that’s why I asked the question
    I had already seen the confusion. Even Anthony’s widget is ‘wrong’ in this respect. And I have lost count of how many times I have clarified this point and, yes, railed against the misuse or conflation.

  33. mr.artday says:

    How long was the period between this real spot and the last real spot? Some months as I remember, with just the occasional Tiny Tim. It’s always possible that we will have another some months until the next real spot. What will Gavin Schmidt have to say then, now that he has spilled the beans with his back door acknowledgement of global cooling?

  34. FatBigot says:

    Mr Aligner said (20:28:34) :
    “And now for the heretical stuff … all based on nothing!
    Venus and Mercury conjunction around the 19th, both now straddling Saturn’s line knocking the sun off balance for a short while. You can see Mercury going right to left on LASCO3. Might be a puff or two up to the 2rd or 3rd when Venus crosses Saturn on one side with Uranus opposite. Mercury is roughly opposing Earth at the same time. Will be interesting to see what (if anything) happens. Expect it’ll pretty much go back to sleep again then till 3rd week in March. 1st week of Jan might see a decent spot or two perhaps.”

    Is this the dawning of the age of Aquarius?

    That’s a hairy thought.

  35. savethesharks says:

    Leif Svalgaard (20:48:17) :

    And I have lost count of how many times I have clarified this point and, yes, railed against the misuse or conflation….

    HUH?? Railed against the wha??

    You take yourself WAY too seriously Leif. I ask a simple \question.

    Leave it to you to turn one question into a silly drama of “who-said” “what-said”.

    Sorry I ever blankety-blanked asked.

    Do me a favor: If you don’t like the question….then don’t respond.

    Geez.

    Anyways…..back to the topic at hand.

    Damn….that is SOME sunspot.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  36. Jimmy Haigh says:

    william (18:36:38) :

    Gavin Schmidt isn’t very good at forecasting the future although he has a good record of hindcasting the past.

  37. savethesharks (21:30:43) :
    I ask a simple question.
    And I give a simple answer.

  38. p.g.sharrow "PG" says:

    I would not totally dismiss “Aligner”. the solar system center of gravity will have some tidal effect on our slow boiling pot, the sun. The more stirring, the greater the turbulence in the metal hydrogen layers, the stronger the magnetic fields, and on and on.

  39. p.g.sharrow “PG” (21:55:10) :
    the solar system center of gravity will have some tidal effect on our slow boiling pot
    No, it will not. As there is no mass at that point. Each planet individually will have a tidal effect. The largest such effect [Jupiter] raises a tidal bulge less than half a millimeter high.

  40. savethesharks says:

    Leif Svalgaard (21:51:45) :

    No. You give a loaded answer.

    You could have answered it simply as it was asked….sans all your invective and commentariy

  41. John F. Hultquist says:

    MC (19:34:47) You wrote: “those who were correct in their prediction can then claim the high ground for their prediction of climate effects in the future.”

    This seems to be a stretch. Do solar experts claim to be “climate effects” futurists?

  42. rbateman says:

    When lost in the wilderness, a small cabin in a clearing must look like the Emerald City to the weary. The spot of today is in the same category as that of early July (5th to 9th). It could grow ever larger, but what comes next must wait for tomorrow.
    As someone said to me recently, a big spot can come along, and expectations may go hog wild. Put it in context.

  43. Leif Svalgaard (20:48:17) : “…I have lost count of how many times I have clarified this point and, yes, railed against the misuse or conflation.”

    Based on my recollection, you’re up to 6 times at the very minimum in the past 12 months, Leif. Probably averaging over once a month, including SC24 threads.

  44. Matt says:

    What is the most spotted the sun has ever been? Does anyone have a picture of an especially spotted sun?

  45. I would not want the world to be cold, I would want the world to be warm with verdant fields, bountiful crops and plentiful harvests.

    This is how I would want the world to be.

    But I do fear that Man caused disaster and Human suffering could be far worse than any mild cooling could bring.

    Such is the prospect of Man’s desire to control other men.

    This desire is strong and seemingly inborn in the make-up of Man.

    Just so, a little cooling now, and the dissipation of the fever that drives men toward fantasies shimmering like mirages on a hot summer day.

    A little cooling now will serve to relieve us from the prospects of misguided ventures in misbegotten actions that once done are hard to undo.

    A little cooling now…like cool summer breeze…

  46. tokyoboy says:

    “Matt (22:59:36) : What is the most spotted the sun has ever been? ”

    My favorite is that on 28 September 2001, namely 1.5 year after Cycle 23 peak (March 2000 IIRC). I remember getting it from SOHO page, but unfortunately the details of how. You may visit there and get one.

  47. Jean Meeus says:

    Adolfo Giurfa (18:22:25) :

    “Question to those who know about these matters: If this spot is so near to the equator does it mean that solar cycle 24 is near its end?”

    Don’t forget that, on a SOHO image, the solar equator doesn’t coincide exactly with the horizontal line passing through the center of the solar disk.
    Around October 26, the center of that disk correspond to a heliographic latitude of +5 degrees. (‘Heliographic’ is to the Sun what ‘geographic’ is to the Earth). Consequently, on the recent SOHO images the solar equator is passing slightly BELOW the center of the image, and the heliographic latitude of the sunspot is slightly greater (northward) than what might be estimated at first sight.

  48. Alan the Brit says:

    Well, those jolly clever chaps & chapesses @ NASA did predict, with the aid of their fancy computer model that was believed to be perfection itself, that Cycle 24 would be fast & furious, so here it is!

    Adolfo Giurfa (18:22:25) : You could be right, perhaps we’re are seeing a peaking cycle, we seem to only have a couple of years to go for that!

  49. Johnny Honda says:

    I have a very basic question, but I really couldn’t find the answer:

    There’s this graph with the suncycles, on the x-axis is the year and on the y-axis there is a number, from zero to appr. 150 in the maximum of the cycle.

    Is this number: The number of sunspots? The Wolf number? And most important: The number per week? Per month? per??

  50. Aligner says:

    Matt (22:59:36)

    Try this NASA page.

  51. TonyB says:

    Leif Svalgaard (22:09:23) : Said

    p.g.sharrow “PG” (21:55:10) :
    the solar system center of gravity will have some tidal effect on our slow boiling pot
    No, it will not. As there is no mass at that point. Each planet individually will have a tidal effect. The largest such effect [Jupiter] raises a tidal bulge less than half a millimeter high.

    *****

    Leif-I assume you are referring to the tidal bulge on the sea?

    Sea levels are currently rising at 1mm per year. Is the Jupiter effect always around half a mm or does that vary? What is the total tidal effect of ALL the planets?

    Tonyb

  52. Juraj V. says:

    Looks like sunspot activity will be back on the upswing and temperatures will be climbing again. Gavin Schmidt predicts that the cooling is over and that 2010 will be warmer.

    No. After such neverending cycle like SC23, historical observations say following bunch of cycles will be weak, leading to some kind of solar minima. And even the SC24 will start now, it will peak after several years, not in 2010.
    We do not need another Maunder minimum to prove we are right. Drop to climate of 70ties will be more than sufficient, but I foresee at least some kind of Damon minimum (1900-1910).

  53. Stargazer says:

    “Sea levels are currently rising at 1mm per year. Is the Jupiter effect always around half a mm or does that vary? What is the total tidal effect of ALL the planets?”

    on the sea? None.

    I’d say an aircraft flying over it has more ‘gravity’

  54. Mr. Alex says:

    “Adam from Kansas (20:04:38) :
    There’s also other magnetic areas on the Sun, I guess SC24 had to start up sooner or later.”

    But you see that is the problem… plages 1026, 1027, 1028 and 0 designations should all be bursting with sunspots, however spotless plages have dominated, with 1029 the only major spot this October so far. Livingston and Penn Effect in action?

    This spot does not exclude the possibility of a grand minimum yet. Take a look at SC 4/5 transition (minimum)
    http://www.robertb.darkhorizons.org/DeepSolarMin.htm

    At one stage in early 1799 the monthly sunspot number was 20, and in August it dropped to 0. The smoothed curve shows a double minimum occurred. Steady ramp-up only appears from 1800.

    “Leif Svalgaard (20:32:16) :
    Solar activity is magnetic in nature, and predictions are then really about the magnetic field. The sunspot number is somewhat arbitrary in this regard.”

    That may or may not be true, but since the only solar records we have kept that go back 400 years are sunspots it would be useful to keep counting them.
    Adding on, it may be that during Maunder/Dalton minima there were many magnetic regions (some even generating flares) which just floated past without spots unnoticed much as 1026, 1027 and 1028 would have been 200 years ago.
    Sunspots could be indicative of some aspect of solar activity not yet understood.

  55. Yarmy says:

    Leif Svalgaard (20:48:17) :
    Even Anthony’s widget is ‘wrong’ in this respect.

    One might be mischievous and ask why it’s on Anthony’s climate widget at all.

  56. rbateman says:

    Matt (22:59:36) :

    What is the most spotted the sun has ever been? Does anyone have a picture of an especially spotted sun?

    This one is a SOHO MDI Continuum overlain on a SOHO EIT Color Composite:
    http://www.robertb.darkhorizons.org/20031028_CEITspot.jpg
    Sunspot image’s prior to SOHO are hard to come by.

  57. Tenuc says:

    Mr. Alex (01:33:56) :
    ‘Leif Svalgaard (20:32:16) :
    Solar activity is magnetic in nature, and predictions are then really about the magnetic field. The sunspot number is somewhat arbitrary in this regard.’

    Mr. Alex Reply: “That may or may not be true, but since the only solar records we have kept that go back 400 years are sunspots it would be useful to keep counting them.

    Adding on, it may be that during Maunder/Dalton minima there were many magnetic regions (some even generating flares) which just floated past without spots unnoticed much as 1026, 1027 and 1028 would have been 200 years ago.

    Sunspots could be indicative of some aspect of solar activity not yet understood.”

    I agree, we still have little knowledge on how many solar mechanisms work.

    Not surprising I think, as on the time scale of the sun we have not even completed one second of direct observation, so much is yet to be learned. The sun is a messy place with lots of chaotic processes involved, similar to Earth climate but on a larger and more energetic scale.

    I’m hoping that with the large array of precision instruments pointing at the sun during this quiet period some more factual evidence of how it works and the connection to climate on the planets.

  58. Eric (skeptic) says:

    Hi Leif,
    When will the neutron counts start to drop?
    Thanks

  59. Ric Werme says:

    TonyB (00:59:10) :

    Leif Svalgaard (22:09:23) : Said

    [Barycentre stuff deleted]
    No, it will not. As there is no mass at that point. Each planet individually will have a tidal effect. The largest such effect [Jupiter] raises a tidal bulge less than half a millimeter high.

    *****

    Leif-I assume you are referring to the tidal bulge on the sea?

    Sea levels are currently rising at 1mm per year. Is the Jupiter effect always around half a mm or does that vary? What is the total tidal effect of ALL the planets?

    I’m sure Leif was referring to the tide on the Sun created by Jupiter. One several reasons for setting a high bar for correlation solar activity and planets.

    Jupiter’s tidal effects vary due to the eccentricity of Jupiter’s orbit, you can find that readily on the web. Much like how the Sun’s tidal effect on Earth varies with the Earth’s seasons – the solar component of our tides is greater in January during perihelion than in July at aphelion.

    I’m lost at your linking Earth sea levels with Jupiter’s tidal attraction on the Sun. While the Earth’s oceans may be growing, the net gravitational field is essentially unchanged. Infalling meteoric and comet debris likely has a bigger impact because increases the Earth’s mass. The effect is computable, it’s not measurable.

  60. Gary P says:

    The Oulu neutron counter remains at a peak with the current count higher than it was in January.
    http://cosmicrays.oulu.fi/

  61. Ric Werme says:

    savethesharks (21:30:43) :

    > Damn….that is SOME sunspot.

    We’ll see. The last decent group didn’t last very long. Back in the good old days a decent group would disappear around one solar limb and reappear a couple weeks later. Hmm, that would be a cute factoid – when did that last happen?

  62. Aligner says:

    william (18:36:38) :

    Apparently the thinking goes like this …

    The current El Nino is forecast to get stronger, probably pushing global temperatures even higher next year, scientists say. NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt predicts 2010 may break a record, so a cooling trend “will be never talked about again.”

    Although one site is saying that means breaking 2005 not 1999. Hard to pin down what’s actually been said.

  63. Geoff Sharp says:

    1029 is the ultimate spot so far during SC24, measuring 462 pixels compared with 313 during 1024. But this is to be expected as we are on the ramp up to some sort of maximum. The Oct mean SSN will come in between 5-10 which is still very low. The L&P reading for 1029 could be very interesting, I believe it will be the end of their theory.

  64. savethesharks (22:14:28) :
    You could have answered it simply as it was asked….sans all your invective and commentary
    And why is it wrong of me to comment?

    Eric (skeptic) (03:09:58) :
    When will the neutron counts start to drop?
    It takes about a year for the solar wind to reach the termination shock, so cosmic rays lag solar activity by about that amount. Since activity in SC24 has been slow to pick up, the decline in cosmic rays will be slow too. Had SC24 picked up more strongly, the lag would have been less than a year as stuff on its way out would have helped screen away the rays, but with the very slow start, there is not much to keep the rays at bay and the lag might well be larger. The past six months, the cosmic ray intensity has been pretty much constant which might be an indication that we are at the ‘cosmic ray’ maximum.

    Mr. Alex (01:33:56) :
    That may or may not be true, but since the only solar records we have kept that go back 400 years are sunspots it would be useful to keep counting them.
    And we are. We do have other proxies of solar activity [going back 12,000 years] namely the signs of cosmic rays in tree rings and ice cores.

  65. beng says:

    Interesting of course, but if you’ve listened to Leif Svalgaard, more sunspot activity doesn’t significantly affect temps. For now, he’s convinced me of this, which isn’t easy to do. Too bad, ’cause I don’t look forward to a brutal winter.

  66. mddwave says:

    It seems to me that sunspot 1029 is like a “rerun” of either 1027 or 1028 as the sun rotates. Is there any information correlating magnetically active regions (the same sunspot area) as the sun rotates?

  67. Don B says:

    Adding on to Gary P’s comment, to my eye the Oulu neutron count has been at record levels (since 1964) for nearly 3 years.

    http://cosmicrays.oulu.fi/webform/query.cgi?startdate=1964/01/26&starttime=00:00&enddate=2009/10/27&endtime=23:00&resolution=Automatic%20choice&picture=on

  68. David Schnarae says:

    Here’s what the Russians predicted a year ago:

    Habibullo Abdussamatov, Dr. Sc.
    Head of Space research laboratory of the Pulkovo Observatory,
    Head of the Russian/Ukrainian joint project Astrometria
    (translated from Russian by Lucy Hancock)
    For their paper and graphics (recommended) See:
    http://www.gao.spb.ru/english/astrometr/abduss_nkj_2009.pdf

    Prediction of variations in solar cycles 24 to 27

    The changing gradient of the bicentennial component of variation in the TSI observed over three consecutive “short” cycles (Fig. 1) delineates further dynamics in the value of the TSI and the level of solar activity, not only of these cycles but also subsequent cycles although with somewhat smaller accuracy. From this consideration, the most probable maximum in the next, the 24th, solar cycle, will be at sunspot number 65 ± 15. But in the subsequent cycles 25-26, falling in the present bicentennial cycle’s phase of active decrease, the trend toward reduction in the absolute value of the TSI will persist, together with decrease in the level of corresponding maxima in solar activity to 45 ± 20 and sunspot number to 30 ± 20 (Fig. 3, 5). Therefore we would expect the onset of the phase of deep minimum in the present 200-year cycle of cyclic activity of the Sun to occur at the beginning of solar cycle 27; i.e., tentatively in the year 2042 plus or minus 11 years, and potentially lasting 45-65 years.

  69. gary gulrud says:

    “Well we are on track to have more spotless days in 2009 than we had in 2008″

    Yeah, I’ll buy this is ‘the ramp’. Headed for Rmax no earlier that Jan. 2014, perhaps as late as 2016, we’re in for more spotless stretches.

    Bateman how’re your faculae doing?

  70. David Schnarae (08:43:15) :
    Excerpt from the paper you provided:

    Experts of the United Nations in regular reports publish data said to show that the Earth is approaching a catastrophic global warming, caused by increasing emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. However, observations of the Sun show that as for the increase in temperature, carbon dioxide is “not guilty” and as for what lies ahead in the upcoming decades, it is not catastrophic warming, but a global, and very prolonged, temperature drop.

    Khabibulo Abdusamatov

  71. mddwave (07:36:34) :
    It seems to me that sunspot 1029 is like a “rerun” of either 1027 or 1028 as the sun rotates. Is there any information correlating magnetically active regions (the same sunspot area) as the sun rotates?
    Yes, it has been known for more of a century that new spots often occur in the same area where spots were earlier. Try to google ‘active longitudes’.

  72. Don B (08:07:41) :
    Adding on to Gary P’s comment, to my eye the Oulu neutron count has been at record levels (since 1964) for nearly 3 years.
    Basing everything on a single station is not sound. The cosmic ray record begins in 1952 and the current values are just at the the ‘normal’ values for odd-even transitions. Here is Thule:
    http://www.leif.org/research/thule-cosmic-rays.png and Moscow:
    http://www.leif.org/research/Moscow-1958-now.png
    and Hermanus (and other South African stations)
    http://www.puk.ac.za/fakulteite/natuur/nm_data/data/nmd_e.html
    There is no ‘record’ setting this minimum. Just business as usual.

    David Schnarae (08:43:15) :
    Here’s what the Russians predicted a year ago:
    This has been in the wind for many years:
    Solar Activity Heading for a Maunder Minimum?
    Schatten, K. H.; Tobiska, W. K.
    American Astronomical Society, SPD meeting #34, #06.03; Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, Vol. 35, p.817, 05/2003

    Abstract
    Long-range (few years to decades) solar activity prediction techniques vary greatly in their methods. They range from examining planetary orbits, to spectral analyses (e.g. Fourier, wavelet and spectral analyses), to artificial intelligence methods, to simply using general statistical techniques. Rather than concentrate on statistical/mathematical/numerical methods, we discuss a class of methods which appears to have a “physical basis.” Not only does it have a physical basis, but this basis is rooted in both “basic” physics (dynamo theory), but also solar physics (Babcock dynamo theory). The class we discuss is referred to as “precursor methods,” originally developed by Ohl, Brown and Williams and others, using geomagnetic observations.
    My colleagues [LS: I'm one] and I have developed some understanding for how these methods work and have expanded the prediction methods using “solar dynamo precursor” methods, notably a “SODA” index (SOlar Dynamo Amplitude). These methods are now based upon an understanding of the Sun’s dynamo processes- to explain a connection between how the Sun’s fields are generated and how the Sun broadcasts its future activity levels to Earth. This has led to better monitoring of the Sun’s dynamo fields and is leading to more accurate prediction techniques. Related to the Sun’s polar and toroidal magnetic fields, we explain how these methods work, past predictions, the current cycle, and predictions of future of solar activity levels for the next few solar cycles.

    The surprising result of these long-range predictions is a rapid decline in solar activity, starting with cycle #24. If this trend continues, we may see the Sun heading towards a “Maunder” type of solar activity minimum – an extensive period of reduced levels of solar activity. For the solar physicists, who enjoy studying solar activity, we hope this isn’t so, but for NASA, which must place and maintain satellites in low earth orbit (LEO), it may help with reboost problems. Space debris, and other aspects of objects in LEO will also be affected.
    This research is supported by the NSF and NASA.

  73. Mr. Alex says:

    “Leif Svalgaard (06:45:14) :

    Mr. Alex (01:33:56) :
    That may or may not be true, but since the only solar records we have kept that go back 400 years are sunspots it would be useful to keep counting them.
    And we are. We do have other proxies of solar activity [going back 12,000 years] namely the signs of cosmic rays in tree rings and ice cores.”

    These are useful (indeed with the current knowledge more useful than spots), however here I refer to solar data obtained via confirmed direct measurement and observation – real time. Adding to that it would prove useful to tackle issues of bias with regards to sunspot counting.

    “Geoff Sharp (05:45:00) :
    1029 is the ultimate spot so far during SC24, measuring 462 pixels compared with 313 during 1024. But this is to be expected as we are on the ramp up to some sort of maximum. The Oct mean SSN will come in between 5-10 which is still very low. The L&P reading for 1029 could be very interesting, I believe it will be the end of their theory.”

    What about L&P measurements for the two minute ‘failspots’ seen in October? (1028 and 0 designation)… not to mention numerous blank plages which currently seem to be following the effect?
    An observation which may be irrelevant (or not): referring to the L&P plot notice how data points are not clustered tightly around the curve, for example in 2005/2006 readings lie between 1500 and over 3000 Gauss. There is much spread. Surely the same could be said about the current situation? 1026 is currently “invisible” whilst 1029 could be 3000 Gauss?
    It would probably take many more 1029-type spots outnumbering large spotless regions to invalidate the theory.

  74. Zeke the Sneak says:

    One benefit of a cooling period would be the natural control of pests and parasites. Eg, aphids, fleas, and slugs survive in fewer numbers when we have a colder winter up here in the NW.

    I don’t think people realize how dangerous it is to allow the government to move agriculture toward all organic farming, because many blights on food production can reproduce many times over in one growing season. n becomes n squared that fast.

    There is one city that won’t even use powerful chemicals on Japanese beetles which have infested a few street trees. This pest could wipe out many forests in our country.

    The cooler earth will counteract the organic madness.

  75. rbateman says:

    Spot measurements today are:
    452 x 10E6 whole spot and 45 x 10E6 umbra.
    Umbra is unchanged while the Penumbra has grown.

  76. Mr. Alex (10:04:52) :
    These are useful (indeed with the current knowledge more useful than spots), however here I refer to solar data obtained via confirmed direct measurement and observation – real time.
    Counting sunspots is a very useful thing to so [and that is why it done]

    Adding to that it would prove useful to tackle issues of bias with regards to sunspot counting.
    This is also an active area of current research. E.g. http://www.leif.org/research/Updating%20the%20Historical%20Sunspot%20Record.pdf

  77. Rod Gill says:

    Re tidal effects of Jupiter on Sun and sunspot creation
    My understanding from Landscheidt etc. is that it’s not tidal forces that influence sun activity, but angular momentum. As the sun oscillates around the solar system barycentre, there are periods of acceleration and deceleration that appear (good correlation) to match observed solar activity changes.
    Angular momentum is conserved (law of physics) so if the sun gets closer to the barycenter it must spin faster to maintain angular momentum (same effect when ice skaters pull arms close to body to create fast spin). This is what is believed by some to cause acceleration forces and maybe disturbances in the sun.
    http://www.Landscheidt.com

  78. Pascvaks says:

    Zeke the Sneak (10:20:05) :

    “One benefit of a cooling period would be the natural control of pests and parasites.”

    I would tend to agree (and hope) but don’t think our present world social/economic order will do well in either case. Look what we’ve done to the economy without any help from Mother Nature. Too hot or too cold will tip the scales too far and chaos will likely reign.

  79. Rod Gill (10:50:21) :
    My understanding from Landscheidt etc. is that it’s not tidal forces that influence sun activity, but angular momentum.
    This is another piece of pseudo-science that relies on the low level of science education. Angular momentum is indeed conserved, but the changes in the Sun’s angular momentum with respect to the barycenter of the solar system is precisely offset by the opposite changes of the sum of the planet’s angular momentum about the same point. An even simpler debunking is that there is no coupling between angular momenta of bodies that are not in contact except by tides and/or magnetic couples, both of which are many orders of magnitudes too weak. In other star systems where there are large planets very close to their star, the tidal effects are, in fact, large and do influence stellar activity, but not in our solar system.

  80. Pascvaks says:

    Leif Svalgaard

    Do we know enough about Gravity Waves to also rule them out as a factor in Solar/Stellar cycles?

  81. Zeke the Sneak says:

    Pascvaks (11:11:22) :

    I would tend to agree (and hope) but don’t think our present world social/economic order will do well in either case. Look what we’ve done to the economy without any help from Mother Nature. Too hot or too cold will tip the scales too far and chaos will likely reign.

    Point taken. I must be in some kind of wierd silver lining mode.

  82. Sergio da Roma says:

    Zeke the Sneak (10:20:05) :

    “The cooler earth will counteract the organic madness.”

    I guess previous chemical madness gave rise to the current pest outbreaks…

  83. Pascvaks (11:23:57) :
    Do we know enough about Gravity Waves to also rule them out as a factor in Solar/Stellar cycles?

    Precision is important here. There are ‘gravitational waves’ that has to do with the propagation of changes in gravity. And there are ‘gravity waves’ that results from gravity acting as a restoring force. If you throw a pebble into a pond, there will be a ripple of small waves propagating outwards from the point of impact. These are gravity waves. Gravitational waves are only really observable in physical systems with extremely high gravity, which are not found in the solar system.

  84. Bart says:

    “Angular momentum is indeed conserved…”

    Agree with Leif. “Spin” adds to total angular momentum, but is effectively independent of what we typically mean by the term, which is the net angular momentum of revolution.

  85. Bart says:

    “Do we know enough about Gravity Waves to also rule them out as a factor in Solar/Stellar cycles?”

    I will suggest an answer: we know that, theoretically, they bleed energy from neutron stars orbiting one another, causing the mutual orbit to decay, and increasing the frequency of revolution. But, the effect on slowly moving, relatively small masses should be insignificant over any relevant timeline.

  86. Bill P says:

    RE: Images of the sun with spots. The butterfly diagram suggests that the years 1957 – 59 were years of exceptional blotchiness, with spots starting further toward the poles than most cycles, and covering more degrees of latitude than even the recent cycle. I looked for pictures of the sun from these years, but couldn’t find any.

  87. Bill P (12:43:05) :
    I looked for pictures of the sun from these years, but couldn’t find any.
    The Mount Wilson Observatories have drawing of of the Sunspots:
    ftp://howard.astro.ucla.edu/pub/obs/drawings/

    Here is an example form 1957:
    ftp://howard.astro.ucla.edu/pub/obs/drawings/1957/dr570922.jpg

  88. Gerry says:

    Leif Svalgaard (11:12:35) :

    “An even simpler debunking is that there is no coupling between angular momenta of bodies that are not in contact except by tides and/or magnetic couples, both of which are many orders of magnitudes too weak. In other star systems where there are large planets very close to their star, the tidal effects are, in fact, large and do influence stellar activity, but not in our solar system.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Many orders of magnitude too weak? I’m interested in how you made that calculation, Leif. Do you also dispute the numbers in Table 3 of
    http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0903/0903.5009.pdf?

  89. rbateman says:

    Bill P (12:43:05) :

    Try this link:
    ftp://ftp.ngdc.noaa.gov/STP/SOLAR_DATA/SOLAR_IMAGES/Beograd_WhiteLight_57to59/

    The deciding question then becomes: To which cycle do the spots belong to, and for that you need a corresponding magnetogram. Mt. Wilson and other places should have what you need.

  90. Gerry (12:52:50) :
    Many orders of magnitude too weak? I’m interested in how you made that calculation, Leif. Do you also dispute the numbers in Table 3.
    Table 3 is OK, but the comparisons are not valid. My own calculation of the tidal force of Jupiter on the Sun [at the surface] is [in MKS or SI units] 3.75065E-10; not too far from Table 3’s. But what you have to compare with is the Sun’s own gravitational force per kg. It is 273.96 in the same units, or 730 billion times stronger. The tidal bulge reaches a height of 0.48 millimeter sweeping by every 13 days [there are two bulges per rotation]. This you can compare to the motions in the solar granules that over churning the surface and the convection zone. The granules are Texas-sized blobs moving at 500 meter/second. Compare that with 0.48 mm/13 days. A similar assessment can be found here: http://www.leif.org/research/jagerversteegh-20063.pdf

  91. Gerry says:

    Leif Svalgaard (13:42:55) :

    Gerry (12:52:50) :
    Many orders of magnitude too weak? I’m interested in how you made that calculation, Leif. Do you also dispute the numbers in Table 3.
    Table 3 is OK, but the comparisons are not valid. My own calculation of the tidal force of Jupiter on the Sun [at the surface] is [in MKS or SI units] 3.75065E-10; not too far from Table 3’s. But what you have to compare with is the Sun’s own gravitational force per kg. It is 273.96 in the same units, or 730 billion times stronger. The tidal bulge reaches a height of 0.48 millimeter sweeping by every 13 days [there are two bulges per rotation]. This you can compare to the motions in the solar granules that over churning the surface and the convection zone. The granules are Texas-sized blobs moving at 500 meter/second. Compare that with 0.48 mm/13 days. A similar assessment can be found here: http://www.leif.org/research/jagerversteegh-20063.pdf
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    As you know, the photosphere, like the chromosphere and the corona, is a hot plasma. As such, the internal gravitational attraction on the mass of its constituent charged particles is largely counteracted by outward radiation pressure. This, in turn, greatly increases the radial size of the tidal bulges from the periodic conjunctions of Jupiter, Earth, Venus, and Mercury. I didn’t see the requisite radiative acceleration term in the equation of your referenced paper, which only cited the proportional gravitational acceleration of the planet compared with that of the Sun. I believe this may explain your calculated 0.48 mm size tidal bulge on a body the size of the Sun.

    Solar radiation pressure acceleration is a very significant term even in the calculation of orbits of interplanetary spacecraft.

  92. Adam from Kansas says:

    Deep cooling projected by Russian scientists (again)
    http://www.climatedepot.com/a/3515/Prominent-Russian-Scientist-We-should-fear-a-deep-temperature-drop–not-catastrophic-global-warming

    The heat stored by the oceans during the active solar period that was the 20th century is currently being released and they say the extra stored heat should be exhausted by 2013.

  93. Gerry (14:46:49) :
    As you know, the photosphere, like the chromosphere and the corona, is a hot plasma. As such, the internal gravitational attraction on the mass of its constituent charged particles is largely counteracted by outward radiation pressure.
    No, the radiation pressure plays almost no role at all. and BTW, 99.9% of the photosphere is not a plasma, but is neutral hydrogen.

    I didn’t see the requisite radiative acceleration term in the equation of your referenced paper
    Because it is not relevant.

    Solar radiation pressure acceleration is a very significant term even in the calculation of orbits of interplanetary spacecraft.
    No. not at all.

  94. I got the italics wrong:
    Gerry (14:46:49) :
    As you know, the photosphere, like the chromosphere and the corona, is a hot plasma. As such, the internal gravitational attraction on the mass of its constituent charged particles is largely counteracted by outward radiation pressure.
    No, the radiation pressure plays almost no role at all. and BTW, 99.9% of the hydrogen in the photosphere is not ionized.

    I didn’t see the requisite radiative acceleration term in the equation of your referenced paper
    Because it is not relevant.

    Solar radiation pressure acceleration is a very significant term even in the calculation of orbits of interplanetary spacecraft.
    No. not at all.

  95. Gerry (14:46:49) :
    I didn’t see the requisite radiative acceleration term in the equation of your referenced paper
    The radiation pressure at the center of the Sun is 1/1000 of the gas pressure. In the photosphere, the gas pressure is 30,000 times larger than the radiation pressure.
    You should not blindly accept the pseudo-science that you find on the internet. Come and ask me, if you find something that seems to be odd or stated with too much confidence.

  96. DGallagher says:

    Leif,

    How does this “big guy” correlate with P&L’s temp, contrast and field trends? Are we still heading toward less visible spots?

  97. Gerry says:

    Leif Svalgaard (15:09:48) :

    Gerry (14:46:49) :
    I didn’t see the requisite radiative acceleration term in the equation of your referenced paper
    The radiation pressure at the center of the Sun is 1/1000 of the gas pressure. In the photosphere, the gas pressure is 30,000 times larger than the radiation pressure.
    You should not blindly accept the pseudo-science that you find on the internet. Come and ask me, if you find something that seems to be odd or stated with too much confidence.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Since the gas pressure is uniformly distributed and the radiation pressure is radial from the center of the Sun, then it doesn’t much matter how large the gas pressure is – none of it directly opposes the outwardly-directed radiation pressure. There are secondary effects (inertia and turbulent drag), but I don’t believe they are very consequential.

  98. Geoff Sharp says:

    Layman’s Count as follows:

    2009/10/27 10:54

    1029-506 pixels
    1024-313 pixels

    1029-73% of pixels within the contrast threshold
    1024-68% of pixels within the contrast threshold

    Details here: http://www.landscheidt.info/?q=node/50

  99. Bart says:

    “Solar radiation pressure acceleration is a very significant term even in the calculation of orbits of interplanetary spacecraft.” No. not at all.

    Actually, it does, or at least, the pressure itself does – pressure acceleration would be like the derivative of force. It produces a force against objects proportional to the area exposed to the sunlight. The whole idea of constructing solar sails for boosting interplanetary spacecraft without using propellant depends upon it.

    It affects spacecraft in Earth orbit as well, most significantly by exerting a disturbance torque if the center of pressure is displaced from the projected center of mass. This is why geostationary birds often have reflective trim tabs, to balance the solar radiation pressure and prevent momentum saturation of the reaction wheels. Such a torque would affect the spin rate of an uncontrolled spacecraft, but obviously not that of the Sun.

    However, before I go too far afield, the statement from Rod Gill (10:50:21) was “if the sun gets closer to the barycenter it must spin faster to maintain angular momentum”. No, it simply will revolve about the barycenter faster, just as an Earth orbiting spacecraft picks up speed at perigee.

  100. alphajuno says:

    There is no dispute that the barycenter moves with respect to the Sun. The dispute centers around if barycenter movement with respect to the Sun has any effect on the number of sunspots the Sun produces. Until a mechanism can be proven, the correlation of the number of sunspots with barycenter movement is interesting (and seemingly odd). But that’s it. There are still too many unknowns.

  101. DGallagher (15:30:04) :
    How does this “big guy” correlate with P&L’s temp, contrast and field trends? Are we still heading toward less visible spots?
    Don’t know yet. When Bill has the data ready in a day or two, we’ll know.

    Gerry (15:35:16) :
    Since the gas pressure is uniformly distributed and the radiation pressure is radial from the center of the Sun
    This is what I mean by science illiteracy. The radiation pressure comes from the hot gas emitting radiation, and it does that in all directions, inward and outwards, because the temperatures above and below an area normal to the radius of the Sun are very closely the same. The temperature falls by a few degrees per kilometer, so at a certain location might be 8,445,736 degrees and one kilometer further out be 8,445,730 degrees.

    Bart (17:50:46) :
    “Solar radiation pressure acceleration is a very significant term even in the calculation of orbits of interplanetary spacecraft.” No. not at all.”
    Actually, it does, or at least, the pressure itself does – pressure acceleration would be like the derivative of force.

    Solar sails don’t work too well; they give very small accelerations that take months to build up to useful speeds. Solar sails have to be physically very large. And radiation pressure is not a very significant effect and is normally not taken into account in calculation of interplanetary spacecraft orbits, mainly because the the uneven distribution of surfaces extending in different directions. The effect can be incorporated later by empirical calibration, but is very small. The thermal emission from the spacecraft itself is generally larger than solar radiation pressure.

    alphajuno (18:58:27) :
    the correlation of the number of sunspots with barycenter movement is interesting (and seemingly odd). But that’s it.
    And the correlation is not even good, and does nothing to explain the polarity changes of the magnetic fields [Hale's laws].

  102. RED DAY 2012 says:

    Check out this link and tell me what you think about the strange activity. Is a magnetic reversal of the sun in progress?

    http://www.lmsal.com/solarsoft/latest_events/

  103. RED DAY 2012 (20:11:27) :
    Check out this link and tell me what you think about the strange activity. Is a magnetic reversal of the sun in progress?
    Why do you think it is strange?
    And, yes, the magnetic field is constantly reversing itself [full process takes 11 years]

  104. Gerry says:

    Leif Svalgaard (20:02:41) :

    “The radiation pressure comes from the hot gas emitting radiation, and it does that in all directions, inward and outwards, because the temperatures above and below an area normal to the radius of the Sun are very closely the same. The temperature falls by a few degrees per kilometer, so at a certain location might be 8,445,736 degrees and one kilometer further out be 8,445,730 degrees.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Actually, the temperature of the Sun’s chromosphere, the solar atmospheric layer just above the photosphere, rises as distance from the photosphere increases. The corona is much hotter yet, about 2 million degrees Kelvin, and is expanded outwards to great distances by the solar wind. What is your explanation of why the corona is so hot?

  105. Gerry (21:31:13) :
    Actually, the temperature of the Sun’s chromosphere, the solar atmospheric layer just above the photosphere, rises as distance from the photosphere increases.
    Actually the temperature in the chromosphere decreases at first.

    What is your explanation of why the corona is so hot?
    There are several mechanisms, none of which involves radiation pressure. We are not quite sure which of these is the dominant, or if there is a dominant cause. Among the mechanisms are breaking of acoustic waves into shocks, dissipation of Alfven waves, or nanoflares caused by magnetic reconnection. The last one being a favorite.

  106. Gerry says:

    Leif Svalgaard (20:02:41) :

    “And radiation pressure is not a very significant effect and is normally not taken into account in calculation of interplanetary spacecraft orbits, mainly because the the uneven distribution of surfaces extending in different directions. The effect can be incorporated later by empirical calibration, but is very small. The thermal emission from the spacecraft itself is generally larger than solar radiation pressure.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Actually, all interplanetary spacecraft orbit calculations take solar radiation pressure into account with reflectivity and absorption models for the solar panels, bus, and high-gain antenna. Solar radiation pressure can be one of the largest orbit error sources, even with the best models.

  107. Just The Facts says:

    Leif

    NASA press release about the pending launch of a sensor named “EVE,” short for EUV Variability Experiment, onboard the Solar Dynamics Observatory as early as this winter.
    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/27oct_eve.htm

    “When the sun is active, intense solar EUV emissions can rise and fall by factors of thousands in just a matter of minutes. These surges heat Earth’s upper atmosphere, puffing it up and increasing the drag on satellites. EUV photons also break apart atoms and molecules, creating a layer of ions in the upper atmosphere that can severely disturb radio signals.”

    “Measurements by a variety of spacecraft indicate a 12-year lessening of the sun’s “irradiance” by about 0.02% at visible wavelengths and 6% at EUV wavelengths.”

    What are your thoughts about EUVs and their potential impacts on Earth’s climate system?

  108. Gerry (21:57:33) :
    Solar radiation pressure can be one of the largest orbit error sources, even with the best models.

    Actually, http://www.mediatec-dif.com/issfd/OrbitdI/IESS.pdf concludes differently:
    “The analysis of two years of radio-metric data from the Cassini mission using state noise compensation and deterministic multi-arc model has provided consistent results in the estimate of the radial component of the spacecraft non-gravitational acceleration. This acceleration is attributed almost entirely to anisotropic thermal emission from the three on-board RTGs, with much smaller contributions from the solar radiation pressure and anisotropic thermal emission from the spacecraft bus.”

    In any event, the effects are small and not “very significant” because the errors are themselves small. And also irrelevant for the planetary influence on the Sun.

  109. Just The Facts (22:07:53) :
    What are your thoughts about EUVs and their potential impacts on Earth’s climate system?
    The total amount of energy involved is minute. Only for ONE flare the biggest so far observed] have we been able to see the total energy [received at Earth] from the Sun increase by one part in 5000. The EUV is absorbed so high up that it has minimal influence on the climate. The ‘proof’ of this is that there is not a clear 11-year cycle in temperatures above the 0.15K level as we would expect if EUV was important.

  110. Geoff Sharp says:

    Leif Svalgaard (20:02:41) :

    alphajuno (18:58:27) :
    the correlation of the number of sunspots with barycenter movement is interesting (and seemingly odd). But that’s it.
    ———————————-
    And the correlation is not even good, and does nothing to explain the polarity changes of the magnetic fields [Hale's laws].

    So we have the current situation, then before that SC20, before that the Dalton, then the Maunder, then the Sporer and before that the Wolf, and if we go back through the Holocene records we see the same pattern . All disturbances lining up precisely with the recorded downturns. If that’s not at least a good correlation I must be missing something. Maybe a case of denial going on here?

    The old “hale cycle” chestnut is irrelevant. A theory does not have to be all encompassing, other mechanisms can be interwoven.

  111. Just The Facts says:

    Leif Svalgaard (22:33:32) :

    What about the potential for cloud impacts? The NASA article states that, “these surges heat Earth’s upper atmosphere, puffing it up”.

    The article linked below states that, “Evaporation of water droplets and the sublimation of ice crystals (conversion from ice directly to vapor) are ways that clouds can dissipate. These dissipation dynamics are caused by two mechanisms, decreasing the moisture and increasing the air temperature.”
    http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ohx/educate/Chapter_5.html

  112. Just The Facts (22:57:52) :
    What about the potential for cloud impacts? The NASA article states that, “these surges heat Earth’s upper atmosphere, puffing it up”.
    The puffing up is up in the thermosphere, a hundred miles or more up. If there was a clear climate signature at the surface we would see it, and we don’t. If we did, we would not have this discussion.

    Geoff Sharp (22:49:12) :
    All disturbances lining up precisely with the recorded downturns. If that’s not at least a good correlation I must be missing something.
    What you are missing is to quantify the correlation and show it is significant.

  113. anna v says:

    People, what Leif says.

    I am another physicist but do not have the patience to engage in this thankless task of elucidating physics. I pipe in so that you are not left with the impression that Leif is a lone ranger.

    I add my two cents of the euro by saying that even if a correlation exists between planetary conjunctions and sunspot cycles, if the physical mechanism is not found it means nothing more than that two clocks always are correlated by construction: one clock the planetary motions, the other the internal clock of the sun “climate”. It says nothing about cause and effect.

  114. Bart says:

    ‘This acceleration is attributed almost entirely to anisotropic thermal emission from the three on-board RTGs, with much smaller contributions from the solar radiation pressure and anisotropic thermal emission from the spacecraft bus.”’

    RTG’s are “radioisotope thermal generators”. These are standard equipment on probes to the outer planets. It is hardly suprising that thermal radiation induced forces from these would dominate solar pressure induced forces at Saturn, particularly when the spacecraft has no solar arrays with large area impacted by photons from the Sun. Earlier in the mission, solar pressure would have been far more significant, since solar pressure falls off as 1/R^2.

    Let it go. You don’t have to become an instant expert on everything imaginable to make your point. The point is that it is unlikely in the extreme that sunspot activity is correlated with motion about the barycenter. Since we appear to agree on that, there is no reason to discuss the issue further.

  115. Geoff Sharp says:

    Bart (11:38:56) :

    The point is that it is unlikely in the extreme that sunspot activity is correlated with motion about the barycenter. Since we appear to agree on that, there is no reason to discuss the issue further.

    The correlations exist, it is the mechanism that is still in doubt. Click on my name if you would like to learn more.

  116. Bart says:

    Geoff – in all honesty, I wandered off my original message. The only point I really wanted to make, responding to the original post of R. Gill, was that spin momentum is generally only weakly coupled with orbital angular momentum, if at all. I believe he was misinterpreting your “Angular Momentum of the Sun” as being the former, rather than the latter.

    The question of whether a conjunction of planets could create internal stresses which could affect sun spot activity is not one upon which I am presently qualified to speculate. My apologies if I suggested a verdict on your results. It was not my intention to venture beyond the narrow point I wished to make.

  117. Geoff Sharp (16:01:06) :
    The correlations exist, it is the mechanism that is still in doubt.
    The ‘correlation’ has not been quantified and can therefore not be subjected to statistical tests for significance. The attempt of quantification you have made is based on circular logic, where the ‘quality figure’ was based on how well the match was.
    If there were a strong enough correlation, one can often dispense with the mechanism for now and leave that as a research project for the future. Unfortunately such is not the case.

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