There has been a interesting news today from BBC News about the current quiet that is taking place in our Sun. It is already known that our Sun is a variable star, but what type of variable star our Sun is has not yet been established. The most common idea [Solar Dynamics Observatory: The ‘Variable Sun’ Mission] is that our Sun has a variability that is connected to the 11 hour sunspot cycle. I don’t think it has been considered that our Sun might be a variable star that has a cycle of 400 years, with high and lows in taking place during that period. With the last lowest point taking place during the Maunder Minimum and possibly some 400 years before that (I don’t have that confirmed, it is just an idea). It is also possible that this cycle in the Sun is more variable than that and happens at random times, but I don’t have much faith in such this. At least until proven otherwise.
If this is a cycle of high and lows that last 400 years (this has not yet been proven by scientists, so this is just a speculation on my part) cycles it means that we are currently about to enter a new low that is going to last around 70 years, we are currently just seeing the start of this minimal period in the Sun. As was the case last time this type of low did happen in the Sun it took few decades to properly start. While this remains unconfirmed it remains just an idea that I am having. What we do know however is that our Sun is getting less active in terms of sunspot activity over the past few years. I do think this trend is going to continue for the next 70 or so years. I might be wrong about this, but I based my view on best earlier data that I have available to me. For the next few decades the winters in both Europe and the U.S are going to get really cold and long. Based on earlier historical data about what happens to the weather once there are few to no sunspots at all on the Sun.
BBC News coverage of the missing sunspots.
Is our Sun falling silent? (BBC News)
It is now clear that whatever remained of comet ISON is now disappearing into space. It did appear once the comet did pass over the sun is not clear, but it clear that most of the comet at that time did disintegrate due to the heat from the sun and the extreme tidal forces that the sun enforces on objects that go close to it.
Images and more details can be found in the links below.
NASA pic: DOOMED ice Comet ISON literally had snowball’s chance in hell (The Register)
ISON Appears To Be Fading, But Astronomers Keeping Eyes Peeled (Universe Today)
Spaceweather.com (Information changes daily, so check the archive for today’s date 1-Desember-2013)
The latest news of the comet ISON is that it appears to have survived the passing by the sun. Just barley, since there is not a lot left to see now according to latest images shown on Spaceweather.com website. It is not currently known what did happen to the comet, but it appears as it was mostly vaporised by the sun. Comet ISON was just one of many sungrazing comet that have not survived this interaction with the sun.
How much of the comet remains it difficult to know at present time, but I am sure that more details are going to appear in next few hours to days on what did happen to comet ISON.
The space weather report website Spaceweather.com is reporting that comet ISON seems to have disintegrated when it passed close to the sun. There are now clues that some small part of the comet might have survived the passage, but it is minor and is unlikely to provide any type of tail as it did before it did go past the sun.
For images and more details please click on the following link.
ISON Real Time gallery
News about the comet destruction (or close to it)
Comet Ison destroyed in Sun passage (BBC News)
According to Spaceweather.com a solar radio burst took place yesterday (02.03.2013) at 19:54 UTC. This solar radio burst was strong enough to drown out normal short wave radio transmissions on Earth. More solar radio burst can be expected in next few days. Since the sunspot that is creating this is making C-flares at this moment.
More details on this radio burst can be found on Spaceweather.com.
During the night there was an M9 solar flare on the sun. This is almost an X-flare according to spacewatch.com. There is also an solar radiation storm heading it’s way to Earth at this moment. It is expected to be S3 in size. But that means that computer might reboot, mobile phones might get weaker signals and so on. A CME is expected to hit Earth tomorrow around 14:18 UTC.
More information on this can be found on Spaceweather.com. Both the progress of this solar radiation storm and updates on the CME. Solar storm weather scales can be viewed here.
According to Spaceweather.com there was a X1.4 solar flare yesterday. The CME is going to miss Earth magnetic field. But might just glance it on the edge. The X1.4 solar flare did peak around 11:00 UTC yesterday.
This solar flare was created by a new large sunspot that is just coming over the Sun eastern limb. It should be in direct view from Earth in about two to three days time I would think.