Solar energy tracker powers down after 17 years

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center After nearly two decades, the Sun has set for NASA’s SOlar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE), a mission that continued and advanced the agency’s 40-year record of measuring solar irradiance and studying its influence on Earth’s climate. The SORCE team turned off the spacecraft on February 25, 2020, concluding 17 years…

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How ESA-NASA’s Solar Orbiter Beats the Heat

From NASA Feb. 4, 2020 When Solar Orbiter launches on its journey to the Sun, there’s one key piece of engineering making this ESA-NASA mission possible: the heat shield. Seeking a view of the Sun’s north and south poles, Solar Orbiter will journey out of the ecliptic plane — the belt of space, roughly in…

A Solar Science Timeline – sunspots, cycles, and solar wind

Humankind has studied the Sun for millennia. Ancient Babylonians recorded eclipses on stone tablets. Renaissance scientists peered through telescopes, tracking sunspots. Eventually we took to space, and the first satellites captured solar particles streaming past Earth. Each generation ran against the limits of their tools. So they built new ones, and a new bounty of questions emerged. Today, cutting-edge solar…

Sunspots, Verse 25

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach [See update at the end] I started out as a true believer that sunspots (or something that changes in sync with sunspots, like heliomagnetism, cosmic rays, solar wind, etc.) had a strong effect on the weather. When I was a kid I read that the great British astronomer William Hershel…

Spot The Quakes

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach Over in the Twitterverse, where I appear as @WEschenbach, in a discussion someone made the following comment: Solar minimum affects periodicity of volcanic activity. Year ‘without a summer’, 1816,  and several other big volcanos occurred during solar minimum cycles. I said that wasn’t true, and pointed him to my analysis…

Solar Update December 2019

David Archibald We are well into the Solar Cycle 24/25 minimum but 24 may not have ended yet. A solar cycle isn’t over until the heliospheric current sheet has flattened. And that could be as late as March 2021. Solar cycle amplitude does matter with respect to climate and the amplitude of Solar Cycle 25,…

NASA’s SDO Sees New Kind of Magnetic Explosion on Sun

from NASA Dec. 17, 2019 NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory has observed a magnetic explosion the likes of which have never been seen before. In the scorching upper reaches of the Sun’s atmosphere, a prominence — a large loop of material launched by an eruption on the solar surface — started falling back to the surface…

Deep solar minimum on the verge of an historic milestone

Guest post by Paul Dorian Daily observations of the number of sunspots since 1 January 1900 according to Solar Influences Data Analysis Center (SIDC). The thin blue line indicates the daily sunspot number, while the dark blue line indicates the running annual average. The recent low sunspot activity is clearly reflected in the recent low…

Quiet sun sets new record for spotless days

As of November 1st, the current stretch of days without any observable sunspots in solar cycle 24 has reached a total of 228 spotless days in 2019 so far That’s 75% of the year so far. During the 2008 solar minimum, there were 268 days without sunspots, or 73% of the year. Here’s a tally of spotless…