Category Archives: Solar

The Northern Lights and other auroras are disappearing from some parts of Earth — but scientists predict a big comeback

aurora australis nasa space station ex52 june 25 2017The Aurora Australis on June 25, 2017, as seen from the International Space Station. NASA

First, the bad news for stargazers: Auroras are going dark in many parts of the world.

The number of these atmospheric light shows won’t bottom out for several years, which means locations far from Earth’s poles — such as the UK and northern continental US — may rarely if ever see the Northern Lights during that time. A study published earlier this year hints this dearth of auroras may last for decades.

But there’s plenty of good news.

Continue reading The Northern Lights and other auroras are disappearing from some parts of Earth — but scientists predict a big comeback

Solar minimum surprisingly constant

Solar minimum surprisingly constant
Solar microwave observation telescopes in 1957 (top left) and today (bottom left). Fluctuations observed during 60 years of solar microwave monitoring (top right) and the solar microwave spectrum at each solar minimum (bottom right). The background is full solar disk images taken by the X-ray telescope aboard the Hinode satellite. Credit: NAOJ/Nagoya University/JAXA

Using more than a half-century of observations, Japanese astronomers have discovered that the microwaves coming from the sun at the minimums of the past five solar cycles have been the same each time, despite large differences in the maximums of the cycles.

Continue reading Solar minimum surprisingly constant