Feeds

Better sunspot forecasts on the way

The weather: cloudy with a chance of global IT disruption

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.