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Space Science

Sunspots Return 276

Posted by kdawson
from the try-this-proven-acne-cure dept.
We're emerging from the longest, deepest sunspot drought since 1913 (we discussed its depths here) with the appearance of a robust group of sunspots over the weekend. Recently we discussed a possible explanation for the prolonged minimum. The Fox News article quotes observer Michael Buxton of Ocean Beach, Calif.: "This is the best sunspot I've seen in two years." jamie found a NASA site where you can generate a movie of the recent sunspot's movement — try selecting the first image type and bumping the resolution to 1024. The magnetic field lines are clearly visible.
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Sunspots Return

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  • Re:Oh sure... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mkiwi (585287) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @03:37PM (#28612689)
    I know it's popular here to say everything that comes from Fox News is complete bullshit, but maybe just once and a while they have a good article. We should be thankful for that.
  • CQ DX (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nethead (1563) <joe@nethead.com> on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @03:37PM (#28612691) Homepage Journal

    CQ DX here we come! Time to hang wire and pound brass!

    73, w7com

  • by H0p313ss (811249) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @03:41PM (#28612741)

    Very strange, as magnetic field lines are entirely imaginary.

    I guess you've never played with magnets and iron filings?

  • by geogob (569250) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @03:48PM (#28612849)

    who tagged this NSFW. Seriously.

    It's nice to see the new solar cycle is flaring up. I miss those nice auroras we could this during the last solar peak. Haven't seen one in about 3 years now. Some were so bright that you could see them in the city, very early in the evening.(at 56ÂN Magnetic Latitude).

  • Re:Oh sure... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by east coast (590680) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @03:55PM (#28612919)
    like ANYTHING Fox News allegedly reports about the so-called "sun" would be worth listening to.

    If you have to censor some from speaking out about science for fear of the scrutiny maybe your science isn't really science at all. Anyone who questions the validity of a theory should be heard. I know that there will be those who will try to mock you but the science is the truth in and of itself, not a side effect of your belief in the science.
  • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @03:56PM (#28612933)

    Very strange, as magnetic field lines are entirely imaginary.

    No, they're quite real. Being immaterial aspects of electro-magnetism,
    they are, however, normally invisible. Here, however, you can see the
    superhot plasma flowing along them, much as you can get iron filings
    on a piece of paper to do with an ordinary magnet.

  • Re:Oh sure... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CannonballHead (842625) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @03:56PM (#28612935)

    Oh sure...

    Like ANY opinion Anonymous Cowards have about the so-called "Fox News" would be worth listening to.

    ;)

  • Re:Oh sure... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eln (21727) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @03:59PM (#28612967) Homepage

    Anyone who questions the validity of a theory should be heard.

    Anyone who offers valid criticisms of your theory with data to back them up should be heard. Saying anyone who questions a theory should be heard might sound nice in theory, but in reality it means you have a bunch of people throwing out unsubstantiated garbage in order to muddy the waters and further their own agendas, which are rarely motivated by scientific concerns.

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:02PM (#28613007) Homepage Journal

    Because I betcha that if Congress gets Cap and Trade in place, throw in some Kyoto claims, that in a few years if we see a cooling trend beyond our current one, they will lay claim to proof they were right.

    In other words, the salesmen won. No matter the out come they will claim to have proven themselves. In the end all we get will be more embedded taxes.

  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:12PM (#28613163) Homepage

    So, what, the last 50 years of steady warming, during which multiple sunspot cycles occurred, isn't enough for you? Or are you just a big fan of cherry-picking data to support your pet conclusions?

  • by blueg3 (192743) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:15PM (#28613213)

    My density is fairly close to that of water, just like everyone else. I do have a degree in physics, though, if that helps.

  • Re:Oh sure... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Etcetera (14711) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:22PM (#28613305) Homepage

    If you have to censor some from speaking out about science for fear of the scrutiny maybe your science isn't really science at all. Anyone who questions the validity of a theory should be heard. I know that there will be those who will try to mock you but the science is the truth in and of itself, not a side effect of your belief in the science.

    This basically sums up the postmodern approach to science. When all truth is relative, then science itself has no basis for an exalted place in the hierarchy of rationality. With nothing to "prove" itself except itself, science becomes a rolling definition of "what works for me, today." From there, it's a small step to seeing science as a means, not an end... and specifically: a means of enacting social change.

    Presto. :/

  • Re:wow. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:28PM (#28613409)

    Maybe I'm just odd compared to most guys but I rather enjoy the foreplay and cuddling. The blast of hormones is just, err, "icing on the cake". ;)

  • by Toonol (1057698) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @04:32PM (#28613477)
    They're no more real than latitude lines. The magnetic field is continuous, it doesn't possess discrete lines. Objects IN the field can form a line, but that is more of a spontaneous symmetry breaking effect... I.E., iron filings could form a hundred distinguishable lines, or a thousand. The filings experiment is neat, but I think it gave millions of schoolkids the idea that there is an actual number of preferred lines running from one end of the magnet to the other.

    A cone doesn't have a finite number of preferred paths down from the top. But if you pour water on the top, the water will run downhill and form a number of discrete streams. That does mean that there are 'lines of gravity'.
  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @05:09PM (#28614027) Homepage

    And, once again, it doesn't make sense, as the global temperature should then correlate with the sunspot cycles, and in the last 50 years, it hasn't.

  • by SnarfQuest (469614) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @05:33PM (#28614413)

    If the temp doesn't drop, then Obama will blaim it on Bush, just like everything else.

  • by Spy Handler (822350) on Tuesday July 07, 2009 @06:39PM (#28615223) Homepage Journal
    Yeah you're right, it should've been "Man may have saved its own civilization"

    Personally I prefer ice age fauna myself, I think sabertooth tigers and and Wooly Mammoths are really cool. Also the sea levels were so low, there was a huge landmass called Beringia where Bearing Sea is now, and the east coast of USA extended 500 miles beyond the current shoreline.

    But however interesting it may be, a full ice age would be a total catastrophe for human civilization, probably 95% of humans would be wiped out.

    It would be cool though, if mankind suddenly got hold of super technology (maybe from Outsiders or Puppeteers) and migrated to Ringworld or something, and Earth reverted to an ice age...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @09:45AM (#28621265)

    Again, could you please tell me which trend to worry about ?

    The last 10 years there has been a -large- cooling trend (more temp difference in 10 years than global warming produces in 200 years), next year (or -perhaps- the year after) should be the coldest point in this trend, after which temp should go back up
    The last 200 years, there has been a -tiny- warming trend ("global warming").
    The last 800 years (since the "little ice age") there has been a -quite large- warming trend
    The last 9000 years there has been a massive warming trend. Since -just about the start of human civilization give or take 100 years- temperature has risen almost 15 degrees worldwide.
    The last 20000 years there has been a -huge- cooling trend, and, worse, it is part of a pattern that seems to suggest temperature will drop 15 degrees worldwide (to just 5 degrees celcius) between now and -oh- another 10.000 years or-so
    The last 200000 years there has been a series of warming-cooling, again suggesting temperature is getting ready to drop quickly

    So, tell me, clearly I should panic. But why ? Because it's going to warm or because it's going to cool ? If you calculate the energy involved, it is a ridiculous suggesting that we would be able to do anything about it.

    One other historical point : a three degree drop in temperature was responsible for several western cities to starve to the last man. A three degree gain in temperature, later on, was almost certainly responsible for a quadrupling of agricultural capacity.

    Therefore if climate is to change, pray to God that the temperature rises. We humans -and every other plant and animal except perhaps reptiles- do VERY well in warm climates, and VERY poor in cold climates. That includes average worldwide temperatures ten degrees above what we have today : humans thrive in those conditions. Temperature even a mere 3 degrees below what we have today, and everything north of New York becomes uninhabitable. If temperature drops 3 degrees Canada will cease to exist in a matter of years.

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