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Last Post 3/24/2021 2:36 PM by  KD Leka
News about the Sun
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3/22/2021 8:25 AM
    What exciting news has come out about the sun lately?
    Christina Cohen
    Basic Member
    Posts:148 Basic Member

    3/23/2021 8:41 AM

    There are a few exciting things that I can think of...
    Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) is the newest solar telescope built in Hawaii and just recently took an amazingly detailed image of a sunspot. This is mostly to show that the telescope works, but the image is just amazing in its detail. You can read about it here:

    Solar Orbiter also took some of the highest resolution images of the solar surface and found tiny bright spots all over the Sun. It isn't yet clear what causes these and how/if they might relate to heating the solar corona. You can read about it here:

    Finally, Parker Solar Probe continues to get closer and closer to the Sun. The Sun has been really quiet lately, but last November there was the first large solar energetic particle event. This was observed really well by Parker, but also seen by spacecraft all around the Sun, including STEREO-A, Solar Orbiter, and missions like ACE, Wind, and SOHO near the Earth. This means the particles were spread all the way around the Sun pretty quickly. We're still trying to figure out how that happens.

    KD Leka
    Basic Member
    Posts:115 Basic Member

    3/24/2021 2:36 PM
    This may sound odd, but there have been a number of recent studies that are digging up old (hundreds of years old!) observations of sunspots that are in really old and not-well-studied archives or were previously thought lost etc., and trying to do careful calibrations in order to understand the Sun's behavior hundreds of years ago. Sometimes these old records are tales of "fire in the sky", and the challenge is to figure out whether they mean aurora or something else. These studies are important to try and understand the long-term behavior of the Sun's magnetic cycles; there are times when the Sun becomes very "inactive" (really almost no sunspots) for many decades, and many of these observations that are being studied are just before & just after such a period of low activity. We have seen kinda low (not extremely low / flat-lined but really kinda surprisingly low) activity in the last magnetic cycle and the low-points before/after were extremely low, so by studying the past we hope to understand what's going on right now and in the future! So - if you are interested in history, ancient texts and archeology, even, as well as astronomy - there are pretty exciting things happening that are old as well as new.
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