Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Solar Minimum


High up in the clear blue noontime sky, the sun appears to be much the same day-in, day-out, year after year.

But astronomers have long known that this is not true. The sun does change. Properly-filtered telescopes reveal a fiery disk often speckled with dark sunspots. Sunspots are strongly magnetized, and they crackle with solar flares—magnetic explosions that illuminate Earth with flashes of X-rays and extreme ultraviolet radiation. The sun is a seething mass of activity.

Until it’s not. Every 11 years or so, sunspots fade away, bringing a period of relative calm.

During solar minimum, the effects of Earth’s upper atmosphere on satellites in low Earth orbit changes too.

Normally Earth’s upper atmosphere is heated and puffed up by ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Satellites in low Earth orbit experience friction as they skim through the outskirts of our atmosphere. This friction creates drag, causing satellites to lose speed over time and eventually fall back to Earth. Drag is a good thing, for space junk; natural and man-made particles floating in orbit around Earth. Drag helps keep low Earth orbit clear of debris.
Very cool.
I wonder if it'll be changing the night sky at all. Would be cool to see some auroras down where I live, although I'm not counting on it.
I think the solar minimum is the sun's quiet period...

which means that aurora's are at their weakest atm.

you want solar maximum, when a solar flare can in rare instances (I've seen it), bring aurora's down to the 40th parallel here in colorado.

I've seen it exactly once, and it was faint...
I've yet to see a truly spectacular aurora unfortunately.
I just don't have the time or resources to go see it right now.

on the up side, you'll get a lower dose of radiation from flying in a high altitude aircraft or space plane.
and the magnetosphere can recharge better because it's not being pressured as much by our star's tantrums.
"I reject your reality and subsitute my own." - Adam Savage, Mythbusters
[Image: 5.jpg]

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)

Makestation Theme/Design Selector

Contact Us | Makestation | Return to Top | Lite (Archive) Mode | RSS Syndication 
Proudly powered by MyBB 1.8, © 2002-2021
Forum design by Makestation Team © 2020 - a modern day time capsule | Makestation Ajax Chat Hosting