Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Science Article Summary - 13

Science Article Summary - 13

2009’s Sleepy Sun Finally Woke Up in December

[1] A. Madrigal, “2009’s Sleepy Sun Finally Woke Up in December” Wired Science, Feb. 2010. [Online]. Available: [Accessed Feb. 10, 2010].
Many people take the sun for granted, believing that it only provides us with merely light and nothing else.  This couldn't be more false, especially now that talk about the sunspots on the sun are reaching widespread media.  Apparently the sun has been having some downtime with its sunspots, leaving both 2008 and 2009 to be the second and third quietest years on record for the number of active sunspots.  2009 would be holding the spot for the second quietest year if it wouldn't have been for December's influx of active sunspots, leaving 22 of the 31 days of the months with sunspots.  Although this two-year low may seem troubling for some, scientists say that sunspot activity waxes and wanes in 11-year cycles, meaning that this period is normal for those waning years.

Although most are also worried about the lack of sunspots effect here on Earth, many would rather have a inactive sun than a active sun.  When the sun is really cranking out sunspots it can create geomagnetic storms that cause havoc by damaging expensive satellites and electrical grid infrastructure.  When the sun is in an inactive period, scientists note that it doesn't have as much of a strong effect, leaving us with an inkling of a change in the Earth's climate.

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