The Shy Sun

14 May 2010

At is a report on what is going on, or not going on, at the surface of the Sun. The Michelson Doppler Images (MDI) onboard the Solar and Heliosphere Observatory (SOHO) measured a very small variation in the absolute solar radius values and the solar shape, a variation of just 22 milli-arc seconds from peak to peak, virtually nothing. The Sun's diameter has changed by less than one millionth during the 12 years of SOHO - in spite of all the activity on the face of the Sun within that period. At this moment, on 12th May (when Nigel Calder was compiling his post) there were no sun spots - and cycle 24 is still very shy. Solar cycle 23 reached a maximum of activity between 2000-2002, at the height of global warming frenzy, and has since declined. Nothing is yet known about the Sun's polar regions - or its magnetic field at those two points. The 'Solar Polar Orbiter' was due to be launched in 2015 - this is now delayed. Hence, the structure of the magnetic field of the Sun's surface cannot be determined without observation of the Poles - yet the Electric Universe is denied. The Plasma Universe, however, is a different kettle of fish.