Articles Tagged "NASA"

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NASA: Are Sunspots Disappearing? by Dr. Tony Phillips
Friday, September 4th 2009, 1:03 PM UTC
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
September 3, 2009: The sun is in the pits of the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century. Weeks and sometimes whole months go by without even a single tiny sunspot. The quiet has dragged out for more than two years, prompting some observers to wonder, are sunspots disappearing?

"Personally, I'm betting that sunspots are coming back," says researcher Matt Penn of the National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Tucson, Arizona. But, he allows, "there is some evidence that they won't."

Penn's colleague Bill Livingston of the NSO has been measuring the magnetic fields of sunspots for the past 17 years, and he has found a remarkable trend. Sunspot magnetism is on the decline:
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NASA Shows Quiet Sun Means Cooling of Earth's Upper Atmosphere
Thursday, December 17th 2009, 10:41 AM UTC
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
HAMPTON, Va., Dec. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New measurements from a NASA satellite show a dramatic cooling in the upper atmosphere that correlates with the declining phase of the current solar cycle. For the first time, researchers can show a timely link between the Sun and the climate of Earth's thermosphere, the region above 100 km, an essential step in making accurate predictions of climate change in the high atmosphere.

Scientists from NASA's Langley Research Center and Hampton University in Hampton, Va., and the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., will present these results at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco from Dec. 14 to 18.

Earth's thermosphere and mesosphere have been the least explored regions of the atmosphere. The NASA Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) mission was developed to explore the Earth's atmosphere above 60 km altitude and was launched in December 2001. One of four instruments on the TIMED mission, the Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry (SABER) instrument, was specifically designed to measure the energy budget of the mesosphere and lower thermosphere. The SABER dataset now covers eight years of data and has already provided some basic insight into the heat budget of the thermosphere on a variety of timescales.

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NASA Study Acknowledges Solar Cycle, Not Man, Responsible for Past Warming
Friday, June 5th 2009, 7:12 AM UTC
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
Image AttachmentSolar activity has shown a major spike in the twentieth century, corresponding to global warming. This cyclic variation was acknowledged by a recent NASA study, which reviewed a great deal of past climate data. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Report indicates solar cycle has been impacting Earth since the Industrial Revolution

Some researchers believe that the solar cycle influences global climate changes. They attribute recent warming trends to cyclic variation. Skeptics, though, argue that there's little hard evidence of a solar hand in recent climate changes.

Now, a new research report from a surprising source may help to lay this skepticism to rest. A study from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland looking at climate data over the past century has concluded that solar variation has made a significant impact on the Earth's climate. The report concludes that evidence for climate changes based on solar radiation can be traced back as far as the Industrial Revolution.
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Why NASA Keeps a Close Eye on the Sun's Irradiance by Adam Voiland
Wednesday, May 26th 2010, 1:45 PM UTC
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
Image Attachment( -- For more than two centuries, scientists have wondered how much heat and light the sun expels, and whether this energy varies enough to change Earth’s climate. In the absence of a good method for measuring the sun's output, the scientific conversation was often heavy with speculation.

By 1976, that began to change when Jack Eddy, a solar astronomer from Boulder, Colo., examined historical records of sunspots and published a seminal paper that showed some century-long variations in solar activity are connected with major climatic shifts. Eddy helped show that an extended lull in solar activity during the 17th Century --called the Maunder Minimum -- was likely connected to a decades-long cold period on Earth called the "Little Ice Age."

Two years after Eddy published his paper, NASA launched the first in a series of satellite instruments called radiometers, which measure the amount of sunlight striking the top of Earth's atmosphere, or total solar irradiance. Radiometers have provided unparalleled details about how the sun's irradiance has varied in the decades since. Such measurements have helped validate and expand upon Eddy's findings. And they've led to a number of other discoveries—and questions—about the sun.

Without radiometers, scientists would probably still wonder how much energy the sun emits and whether it varies with the sunspot cycle. They wouldn't know of the competition between dark sunspots and bright spots called faculae that drives irradiance variations.

And they’d have little chance of answering a question that continues to perplex solar experts today: Has overall irradiance changed progressively throughout the past three 11-year cycles, or are variations in the sun's irradiance limited to a single cycle?
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MUST HAVE: NASA iPhone App: Here Comes the Sun
Sunday, February 21st 2010, 7:12 AM UTC
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
Solar activity monitoring is set to improve dramatically, and updates come right to your phone with the free 3D Sun app.

Energy from the sun makes its 93 million-mile way to Earth in about eight minutes. When the sun acts up, kicking off violent bursts of electromagnetic energy, the effects can take the form of an awe-inspiring display of the aurora, or they can cause dropped calls on your cell phone.

In a pair of fresh developments, scientific innovations are improving our ability to monitor and predict such solar outbursts, and this information is now available in the palm of our hands.

MSNBC reports that a new solar activity monitoring technique can collect and analyze subtle acoustic cues given off by the movement of the sun's liquid and magnetized core. This development should dramatically improve the prediction of solar flares, which we generally haven't been able to do before. And the innovation is well timed, owing to 2010 roughly coinciding with an expected uptick in solar movement per our home star's 11-year cycle of activity.

Further, as Wired reports, NASA has released a free iPhone application called 3D Sun that allows users to keep tabs on solar goings-on. Relying upon data collected by NASA's pair of STEREO satellites that monitor the sun from two different points in space, NASA's data stream features coverage of nearly 90 percent of the sun's surface activity. 3D Sun users can track sun spots as they develop and evolve, watch solar flares in real time and receive solar news updates from a PhD-level astrophysicist in the event of major and noteworthy solar occurrence.

And, if you live near the North Pole, 3D Sun will give an indicator that it's a perfect night to step outside and feast your eyes on that positive effect of solar outbursts, the Northern Lights.
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NASA Celebrates Sun-Earth Day Activities With Live Webcast
Friday, March 19th 2010, 4:56 AM UTC
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
Image AttachmentWASHINGTON, March 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA EDGE, an award-winning talk show known for offbeat, funny and informative behind-the-scene stories about the space agency, will celebrate Sun-Earth Day 2010, with a live webcast about our sun and its effects on Earth. The program will air at 1 p.m. EDT, Saturday, March 20, from the exhibit floor of the National Science Teachers Association conference in Philadelphia.

This year's focus is magnetic storms created by the sun. Magnetism, a force that affects our everyday lives, plays a key role in the workings of the sun. Its force also is responsible for coronal mass ejections, the most violent explosions in the solar system.

NASA research about these storms will help scientists increase their understanding of the connections between the sun and its planets. Scientists also will be able to better predict the impact of solar activity on humans and technological systems.

The NASA EDGE program will feature interviews with scientists, educators and students. Viewers will hear discussions and see demonstrations about the power of magnetism and how magnetic storms affect them. Science centers and museums around the world will provide images from NASA satellites studying the sun and other multimedia products for educators, students and the public.

To view the webcast, visit:

For more information about Sun-Earth Day, visit:


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