Confusing Sun: Will Solar Cycle 24 Be Most Intense On Record?

"It’s a little confusing this time around, actually. We haven’t had this problem before ...but indicators (of big solar maximums) that have agreed and worked in the past don’t agree this time."

- David Hathaway, Ph.D., NASA

Three sunspots on the sun, January 11, 2007. Individual sunspots are often larger than planet Earth, which is shown scaled to size in the lower right, along with massive Jupiter. The scale line at lower left compares to the length of 10 Earths. Image courtesy SOHO.
Three sunspots on the sun, January 11, 2007. Individual sunspots are often larger than planet Earth, which is shown scaled to size in the lower right, along with massive Jupiter. The scale line at lower left compares to the length of 10 Earths. Image courtesy SOHO.
July 15, 2002, "most detailed images ever of sunspots" (Region 10030) on sun's granular surface by solar telescope in La Palma, Canary Islands, off African coast. Resolution is 62 miles (100 km). Colorized image by Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Institute for Solar Physics.
July 15, 2002, "most detailed images ever of sunspots" (Region 10030) on sun's granular surface by solar telescope in La Palma, Canary Islands, off African coast. Resolution is 62 miles (100 km). Colorized image by Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Institute for Solar Physics.

January 13, 2007  Huntsville, Alabama - If you could fly near the surface of the sun, there would be a lot of humming and sonic booms. At Stanford University and the University of California-Berkeley, physicists have processed radio signals from the sun and produced audio files. The sun vibrates with a hum that goes up and down every five minutes. Stanford scientists call it "the singing sun."

 

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