Feeds

Better sunspot forecasts on the way

The weather: cloudy with a chance of global IT disruption

Build a business case: developing custom apps

With a solar maximum expected next year, predicting sunspot activity is going to be a hot topic. An international team of scientists has announced that it can identify emerging sunspots earlier than is currently possible.

The work, published in Science, is based on detecting acoustic waves that provide a “signature” of an emerging sunspot. The anomalies can be detected as deep as 65,000 km within the sun.

This means the sunspot may be detectable two days before it emerges and becomes visible. Given the apocalyptic predictions made for next year’s solar maximum – a period in which sunspot activity peaks – better predictions may be important for the world’s IT and telecoms industries.

The research team, led by Stathis Ilonidis of Stanford University, used data from the NASA / European Space Agency Solar and Heliospheric Observatory. Observing the way acoustic waves travel within the sun, the researchers found that magnetic fields along the path of the waves would change their travel time.

Regions where acoustic waves move more quickly were associated with sunspots that emerged a day or two later.

While solar observation could get better, NASA’s STEREO-A spacecraft has provided our first look at a solar storm all the way from the Sun to Earth. It’s taken three years to analyze the data collected by STEREO-A, but NASA scientists hope that the ability to track a CME – coronal mass ejection – long after it becomes too dim for optical telescopes could also improve our space weather forecasting.

“The ability to track a cloud continuously from the Sun to Earth is a big improvement,” says Alysha Reinhard of the NOAA’s Space Weather Center.

NASA has posted a video here. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN Kickstarter push breaks TWELVE THOUSAND POUNDS
That's right, folks, you've stumped up OVER 9000 beer tokens - and counting
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.