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Predicting sunspots

  1. Aug 19, 2011 #1


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    Sunspot-Spotting Method May Improve Solar Storm Warnings

    Early-warning system for sunspots

    Sun storms 'could be more disruptive within decades'

    Other threads (some in Astronomy and others in Astrophysics) about sunspots or related solar physics:

    Solar Cycle & Explanation for Recent Changes? (Mar-May 2007)

    Disappearing Sunspots, Minus 50 Gauss/yr

    Solar Cycle 24


    Density of solar flares?
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 22, 2011 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Thanks Astro!
  4. Aug 27, 2011 #3


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    Important new science and some nifty video from the venerable SOHO, newer SDO mission, and those wonderful folks at NASA. Link to new Science paper.

    Astronomers have been studying sunspots for more than 400 years, and they have pieced together their basic characteristics: Sunspots are planet-sized islands of magnetism that float in solar plasma. Although the details are still debated, researchers generally agree that sunspots are born deep inside the sun via the action of the sun’s inner magnetic dynamo. From there they bob to the top, carried upward by magnetic buoyancy; a sunspot emerging at the stellar surface is a bit like a submarine emerging from the ocean depths.

    In the August 19th issue of Science, Ilonidis and co-workers Junwei Zhao and Alexander Kosovichev announced that they can see some sunspots while they are still submerged.

    Their analysis technique is called "time-distance helioseismology2


    Respectfully submitted,
  5. Sep 6, 2011 #4
    Sunspot predictions do not have a good accuracy record. Specifically, predictions from cycle 23 and earlier cycles to our current cycle 24 have been all over the place. However, space weather predictions of coronal mass ejections seem highly correlated with variations of radioactive decay rates observed as much as several days in advance.

    Radio active decay rates are supposedly immune to outside influences. Recent observations show this is not the case. The decay rate is experimentally seen to vary prior to coronal mass ejections, as well as seasonal variations during the earth's elliptical orbit.
  6. Sep 6, 2011 #5


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    Thank you for posting this, but it should best be accompanied by an acceptable reference per form rules. Not long ago, I posted this same information elsewhere in the forum, citing a PF forum acceptable reference to back it up. Nobody who responded could get over the "giggle factor."

  7. Sep 6, 2011 #6


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    I've recently read Stuart Clark's excellent work, "The Sun Kings: The Unexpected Tragedy of Richard Carrington and the Tale of How Modern Astronomy Began".

    Apart from blood red aurorae down to the Carribbean, and telegraph paper being set alight by the wires, the Carrington Event didn't cause too much stir. Even so, another such flare/CME would be a stern test of our modern power grid to withstand without advance warning, I agree. I have searched, so far in vain, to discover if power grid transformers are still being manufactured in the USA. Do you know?

    Respectfully yours,
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