Sun A Lot Quieter Over Past Decade; Indian Scientists Probe Why

The sun has been much quieter between 2008 and 2019 than it was between 1996 and 2007, according to a team of Indian astrophysicists.

Solar activity — solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) — can affect our lives on earth, interfering with GPS signals, long-range radio communication and power grids. That’s why, the past 10 years’ relative quietness in solar activity has made the scientists curious, according to an article in (OneWorld SouthAsia).

The scientists are from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, MP Birla Institute of Fundamental Research and Udaipur Solar Observatory.

Sunspots, solar flares & CMEs

All of them result from the dynamic magnetic fields on the Sun’s surface, which are constantly moving and changing.

Sunspots are the dark areas on the Sun’s surface. They form where the magnetic fields are strong.

Solar flares release a lot of radiation into space, which can interfere with long-range radio communication on Earth.

CMEs are giant expanding bubbles of magnetised plasma erupting into space.

According to the article, the size of CMEs between 2008 and 2019 is only two-thirds their size in the previous decade, startling the scientists.

The intensity of solar activity is known to vary in decade-plus periodic cycles. The sun was weakest in 2019 during the last 100 years.


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