The ESA and NASA mission SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) has found its 2000th comet (see www.physorg.com/print212806556.html). SOHO was designed to monitor the Sun and was launched as long ago as 1995. It is the dozens of amateur astronomers that daily pore over the fuzzy lights moving across the images produced by the camera onboard the satellite that has actually found the comets. At the moment there are around 70 people from 18 different countries taking part. A NASA spokesman commented, we now know there are many more comets in the inner solar system than we were previously aware of. He added, we can tell a lot of these comets all have a common origin – many of them come from a single group known as the Kreutz family, believed to be the remnants of a single large comet that broke up several hundred years ago. The Kreutz family are sun-grazers.
NASA is again making predictions about the Sun – and the long awaited period of turbulence on the face of the Sun (see www.physorg.com/print212825694.html ). The coming years, 2011 and 2012, is when the Sun is expected to pull out of its trough of low activity and move into a phase of high activity. Sun spots are in short supply and it is thought this may lead to a sudden rush of sun spots – of high intensity. Exactly why they think that is not disclosed but this solar cycle has so far refused to play ball with solar scientists even after several false alarms in which some noteable sun spots were closely followed – by inactivity once again. Major solar flares, or CMEs (coronal mass ejections) send forth tides of electro-magnetic radiation and charged matter and these compress earth's magnetic field and produce aurora. Obviously, there is a lot here that is improperly understand and it relies more on theory than on facts. NASA seems to be anxious for the current solar cycle to spark into life – and appear to fear a really big CME. They realise that modern society, in the developed world, is basically wide open to a massive CME event.