A Solar Science Timeline – sunspots, cycles, and solar wind

By Miles Hatfield – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Humankind has studied the Sun for millennia. Ancient Babylonians recorded eclipses on stone tablets. Renaissance scientists peered through telescopes, tracking sunspots. Eventually we took to space, and the first satellites captured solar particles streaming past Earth.

Each generation ran against the limits of their tools. So they built new ones, and a new bounty of questions emerged. Today, cutting-edge solar research can still trace its lineage to the efforts of early, Earth-bound Sun-watchers who were just as eager to understand our closest star. This is an abridged story of that scientific history: A genealogy of the advances that led to solar science as we know it today.

View an interactive version of this timeline.


1375 BCE – 1543 CE — EARLY HISTORY OF SOLAR SCIENCE

eclipse tablet

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When Will Our Quiet Sun Turn Violent?

By Sarah ScolesMay rom Science Mag – Re-Blogged From WUWT

BOULDER, COLORADO—For all of February the sun is nearly spotless, a smooth circle filled in with a goldenrod crayon. It has been more than a decade since it was so lacking in sunspots—dark magnetic knots as big as Earth that are a barometer of the sun’s temperament. Below the surface, however, a radical transition is afoot. In 5 years or so, the sun will be awash in sunspots and more prone to violent bursts of magnetic activity. Then, about 11 years from now, the solar cycle will conclude: Sunspots will fade away and the sun will again grow quiet.

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A violent, active sun, as seen in ultraviolet light in October 2014—near solar maximum in its 11-year solar cycle. As the sun approaches solar minimum, scientists are trying to predict the timing and strength of the next solar maximum.

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Monster Solar Storm That Hit Earth Discovered

By Anthony Watts – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Something this big today would surely fry electrical grids, GPS, and communications. It may be bigger than the Carrington Solar event of 1859.

Scientists have found evidence of a huge blast of radiation from the Sun that hit Earth more than 2,000 years ago. The result has important implications for the present, because solar storms can disrupt modern technology.

The team found evidence in Greenland ice cores that the Earth was bombarded with solar proton particles in 660BC. The event was about 10 times more powerful than any since modern instrumental records began.

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