Saturday, 26 June 2010

July 2010

Propagation Summary
Conditions have remained the same during June except for a fluctuation around the 26th which seems to be happening roughly every 16 days. As far as the Boulder A and K indices are concerned, the ‘floor’ levels are 5 and 2 respectively. The A index rises to between 10 and 15, and the K index rises from 2 to 3 during these fluctuations, the next one being around 13th July . The Solar flux however, is once again on a downward trend. The solar flux is expected to be 75 at the end of June, dropping to 70 by June 19th.

Solar Storm Watch
This is a project by the Royal Observatory an Greenwich where the public are invited to take part in predicting the direction of Coronal Mass Ejections on the sun from online diagrams and videos. The method is known as crowd sourcing. Scientist Chris Davies said: “The reason that we want lots of people doing this is because that takes away the subjectivity. If we have a consensus view of what a CME looks like and which way it's going then you can be much more confident about that answer being correct.” Anybody can take part by registering at: (Via Ken Fletcher).

Sunspots may vanish by 2015. By William Livingston and Matthew Penn.

“We have observed spectroscopic changes in temperature sensitive molecular lines, in the magnetic splitting of an Fe I line, and in the continuum brightness of over 1000 sunspot umbrae from 1990-2005. All three measurements show consistent trends in which the darkest parts of the sunspot umbra have become warmer (45K per year) and their magnetic field strengths have decreased (77 Gauss per year), independently of the normal 11-year sunspot cycle. A linear extrapolation of these trends suggests that few sunspots will be visible after 2015. Sunspots are cool dark regions on the solar surface with strong magnetic fields. There have been few direct measurements of changes in the physical parameters of sunspots, but here we present a study which shows that sunspots are becoming warmer and have weaker magnetic fields. The number of sunspots visible on the Sun normally shows an 11-year periodicity, and the current sunspot cycle (cycle 23) had a maximum in 2001, and is entering a minimum phase with few sunspots currently visible. Our data show that there are additional changes occurring in sunspots, independent of the sunspot cycle, and these trends suggest that sunspots will disappear completely.” (National Solar Observatory Tucson, Arizona) This report can be viewed in full at: (Alerted by Glenn Hauser, in his latest World of Radio:

Solar Dynamics Observatory delivers stunning images
The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) is returning stunning pictures of the sun.
Launched February 11, it carries six image sensors from UK company e2v based in Chelmsford, Essex.
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory is returning early images that confirm an unprecedented new capability for scientists to better understand our sun’s dynamic processes.
Some of the images from the spacecraft show never-before-seen detail of material streaming outward and away from sunspots. Others show extreme close-ups of activity on the sun’s surface.
The spacecraft also has made the first high-resolution measurements of solar flares in a broad range of extreme ultraviolet wavelengths. "These initial images show a dynamic sun that I had never seen in more than 40 years of solar research,” said Richard Fisher, director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "SDO will change our understanding of the sun and its processes, which affect our lives and society. This mission will have a huge impact on science, similar to the impact of the Hubble Space Telescope on modern astrophysics.”
‘A Solar Prominence’ is a video of the March 30, 2010 prominence eruption, starting with a zoomed in view. The twisting motion of the material is the most noticeable feature. The viewpoint then pulls out to show the entire Sun.
Watch it at:
Other SDO images at

NASA's New Eye on the Sun Delivers Stunning First Images

Successful launch for SDO

This was also featured on News Briefing BBC Radio 4 22nd April 2010.
(Via Ken Fletcher with thanks to Mike Terry and Southgate ARC)