Feeds

Scientists crack spotless Sun mystery

Temperamental conveyor belt to blame for deep solar minimum

Top three mobile application threats

Scientists reckon they've cracked the mystery as to why during 2008-2009, the Sun was completely devoid of sunspots for almost two years.

This deepest solar minimum in a century, marking the end of sunspot cycle 23, saw the Sun's global magnetic field and solar wind weaken, allowing dangerous cosmic rays to sweep the inner solar system.

Graph of sunspot cycles over the last century. Pic: Dibyendu Nandi et al

It also prompted a cooling and collapse of Earth's upper atmosphere in the absence of the UV ray heating normally provided by sunspot activity.

"Space junk stopped decaying as rapidly as usual and started accumulating in Earth orbit," NASA explains.

Just why the Sun went quiet for so long has until now had boffins scratching their heads, but a team led by Dibyendu Nandi of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Kolkata says it has the answer.

Nandi declared: "Plasma currents deep inside the sun interfered with the formation of sunspots and prolonged solar minimum. Our conclusions are based on a new computer model of the sun's interior."

Cutaway graphic of the Sun showing the Great Conveyor Belt. Pic: Andrés Muñoz-Jaramillo

The crux of the matter is the behaviour of the "Great Conveyor Belt", represented in the above graphic as black arrowed loops.

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Next page: Bootnote

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.