Monday, June 9, 2008

Solar minimum unusually deep/long after all?

When the question was raised in May whether the current minimum of solar activity was unusually low, the reply from NOAA was that "it isn't all that unusual. Note, the last 2-3 minima were a bit higher than typical and I believe this one slightly below average, which makes it seem that much lower." But at a solar conference in Montana a month later things were apparently seen differently, at least according to a press release the hosting university put out today: "The scientists said periods of inactivity are normal for the sun, but this period has gone on longer than usual. [...] The next cycle is just beginning and is expected to reach its peak sometime around 2012. Today's sun, however, is as inactive as it was two years ago, and scientists aren't sure why." The release stresses the lack of knowledge about the Sun's 'plans' but mentions the Maunder minimum of the 17th century ...

In other news here are some observations of the 'other' comet Boattini currently around 11th mag. Meanwhile the 'old' Boattini is near M 41, only visible deep South at around 5th mag. • The first bright NLCs of the year have been seen in Ireland - and a weird halo in Finland.

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