Sunâ??s Deep Physics Explain Sunspot-Free Days

Image credit: NASA/Goddard/SDO-AIA/JAXA/Hinode-XRT; Artistic rendering: Cygnus-Kolkata/William T. Bridgman; Conceptualization and simulation data: Dibyendu Nandy, Andres Munoz-Jaramillo and Petrus C.H. Martens.

The long lull in sunspots at the end of Solar Cycle 23 wasn’t just fodder for global cooling predictions — it gave solar physicists plenty to study. And a new computer analysis may have come up with a fairly simple explanation for the sun’s odd quiet. Lead author Dibyendu Nandy, of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Kolkata, and his colleagues report in Nature today that the long string of sunspot-free days between solar cycles 23 and 24 may directly correlate with the speed of north-south flow of plasma toward the sun’s equator. Their collage, above, shows magnetic fields in the interior of the Sun simulated using a solar dynamo model (center) and the observed solar corona at two different phases of solar activity: A quiescent phase during the recent, unusually long minimum, at right, and a comparatively active phase following the minimum, at left.

(…) Read the rest of New Study: Sun’s Deep Physics Explain Sunspot-Free Days (383 words)

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