The Sun and the Asteroid

22 Mar 2012

At www.physorg.com/print251533118.html ... a piece on sunspots and solar flares and an image of a solar flare from March 13th. The flare is described as a burst of radiation yet goes on to say the radiation is derived from the release of magnetic energy.

At www.physorg.com/print251460105.html ... the collection of geomagnetic data over the last couple of hundred years has revealed cyclical changes such as a 27 day solar rotation most clearly seen during the declining phase and at the minimum of the sun spot cycles. This is when the Sun's magnetic dipole is sometimes tilted with respect to the Sun's rotational axis. At these times the solar wind can form a spiral like pattern lasting 27 days (or sometimes half that number). However, during the current sunspot cycle, which is longer than normal and quieter than normal, the period has been restricted to just 9 days or 6-7 days activity - a pattern that has not happened over the last 140 years (using historical data).

At www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-082&cid=releases_2012-082 ... the Dawn spacecraft has sent back images of unusual features on the Vesta asteroid - some of which are described as geological in nature. Some parts of the asteroid are much brighter than other parts - and the reason why is not readily available as yet. There are also many dark deposits on the surface - again, found near impact craters, or as huge regional deposits. To view images of Vesta see www.nasa.gov/dawn or http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov

Finally, at www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120320163512.htm ... 'Cassini sees Saturn stressing out Enceladus' - the title says it all. Tidal pulls from Saturn are being blamed for fissures on its moon, Enceladus. See also www.nasa.gov/cassini or http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov