The sun is not cracked, but is on the decline

Maybe the Earth is at the beginning of a new ice age: the activity of the Sun in 2012 and has not increased, although its current maximum is just for this year. What is now happening with the sun, compared to the so-called Maunder and Dalton minima in the XVII-XIX centuries, which coincided with a sharp decline in global temperatures. However, the link the Earth's climate and solar activity is not yet proven.

Since the middle of XVIII century observatory in Zurich began regular study of solar activity. Cycle, which scientists have begun monitoring, was named the first solar cycle. Accordingly, since then have been 23 cycles, and now we're in the middle of a new, 24-second cycle, which is very puzzling.

Graph of solar activity since the beginning of continuous monitoring. One can see all the 23 solar cycles / /

A maximum of 23 second cycle occurred in 2001, and it is easy to see that the next maximum can be expected in 2012. Estimated minimum (that is, the end of the 23rd cycle and the beginning of the 24th) fell in 2006-2007, after which was to begin a smooth rise. But in fact it has not. Instead of a smooth recovery observed smooth decrease completely incomprehensible, and in 2008-2009 was the deepest minimum of solar activity, as she literally went to zero. Usually a minimum increase is zero, and there are very rare at least. Since the second half of 2009, the sun began to register the new growth activities.

But by August 15, 2012, it stopped growing and fell below the level of last year.

The current view of the sun (left; SDO Observatory image obtained August 14, 2012) and the view of the sun near the high of the previous solar cycle (right, the picture is an observatory SOHO July 15, 2000) / /

Current level of activity is four times lower than the maximum values recorded during the 260 years of continuous observations of the Sun, and only a few percent higher than the last time they failed solar activity — Dalton minimum in 1790-1830, respectively. These conclusions follow from the solar flare activity and the analysis of the Wolf numbers — the main method of measuring and describing cycles of solar activity.

Unexpected lull Sun in 2008-2009 led to a number of predictions about the characteristics of future solar maximum, of which it was possible to distinguish at least two contrasting scenarios.

In the first scenario, the Sun should release each cycle approximately equal to the total amount of energy. Accordingly, if the solar activity was depressed for a few years, then in the following years the rate of energy must compensate for this gap, we have to be much higher than average. On this basis, it was expected that the growth phase of a new cycle will be unusually rapid, with, 'speeding, "at the height of the sun could reach very high values of the activity.

The second scenario is based on the observation that in the history of the study of the sun it was never recorded extremely high highs.

In this case, however, there were at least two very deep downturn. The former was measured directly: it is mentioned so-called Dalton minimum in which the sun was at its fifth and sixth cycles (Between 1784 and 1810 the first years). The second one is known from proxy data (from early observations of amateur astronomers and radiocarbon analysis) and is the most famous of all. This is known as the Maunder minimum that lasted from 1645 to 1715 the first year, which is more than half a century, which coincided with the coldest phase of the so-called Little Ice Age (we note that the significant association between these two events are not yet available). Since the Maunder and Dalton minima are very close (their shares less than one hundred years), people often assume that at least the later Dalton is like an echo (second wave) of the Maunder minimum. After that for the next 200 years of solar observations like clockwork. The second scenario in the new solar cycle, as once suggested that only a deep dip in solar activity in 2006-2009, may be a harbinger of a new large-scale failure of at least several solar cycles, ie from 25 to 100 years.

Despite the apocalyptic messages of different media on the 2012 end of the world, who will come after 'Sun in September-December 2012, will burn the Earth ", the analysis of the flare activity and the number of spots indicate that a extremely high solar cycle the sun did not materialize.

But more likely is the second scenario — extremely weak solar cycle, the comparable level with a minimum of Dalton.

Thus, the maximum monthly Wolf number (a measure of the number of sunspots) registered this year, is only W = 69,0 — it was reached in May 2012. During the record for the last 260 years of the solar cycle number 19 at its maximum was reached about four times the value of W = 253,8. Thus, to record the activity of the Sun is still very far away, while up to a uniquely low levels of activity, on the contrary, there are very few. In cycle number 5 (Start Dalton minimum) The highest level of activity was equal to W = 62,3, and during the next cycle maximum was fixed at W = 96,2. It is only a few percent lower (and for the cycle number 6 even higher) than the current level recorded at the Sun.

Over a low solar cycles for 260 years was observed.

Thus, the Sun while not yet passed into the state of the new global fault activity (This conclusion can not be made based on only three years of observation), but very close to it. Also in 2011, the solar activity has ceased to grow. Peak Wolf numbers were not achieved in the current year (when the expected maximum), and in November 2011 (W = 96). Thus, the activity of the sun this year, almost 50% lower than in the previous year, despite the fact that since March, the solar activity for nearly half a year stabilized at W = 64-69, equal to the level of Dalton minimum.

According to Professional laboratory X-ray astronomy of the Sun LPI,
critical to the understanding of where our star is moving to become the second half of this year. For her it is clear to see if the upward trend of the Sun or our star frozen at current levels, or even start to fall even lower. 'If the current level of activity will not be significantly (a half to two times) increased in the next 6-12 months, it will mean that the sun passes through one of the lowest in the history of the solar cycle, which were previously recorded only during prolonged activity failures, almost inevitably accompanied by abrupt climatic changes of the Earth "- they say.

Speaking about the latest news related to the sun, we should note an interesting structure, which was observed in the last few days: a thin dark structure with jagged edges, at first glance very similar to crack.

Actually, this structure has become another opportunity for some media to write another pugalku about doomsday and entitle her terrible name in style 'The sun was cracked. "

The fact that the Sun is not a solid body, and being the object of a gas can not be cracked, for some reason none of the authors had not thought of sensational.

The nature of the crack is not a riddle for Astrophysics. It is dark

'fiber ", consisting of a very cold (for the star) gas — a temperature of less than 10 thousand degrees. These structures do not lie on the surface of the sun, and raised over it a few thousand kilometers, while they kept the lines of the magnetic field, forming as it were a pedestal. In fact, these fibers — this giant solar cloud. Due to the low (but it is more than 100 times lower than the ambient corona) fibers do not create their own light, but because of its high density not reflect light from the surface of the Sun. As a result, there is a dark disk structure, sometimes rather bizarre configuration, the low resolution is very similar to crack.

Category: Watching the sun and solar anomalies

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