Solar Wind Plasma Output At 50-Year Low

MaxPower September 23rd, 2008

More curiosities abound from the activity on the sun. I have been interested in the slow start to the 24th solar cycle for a while now and then this press release and conference call from NASA’s JPL caught my attention.

“The sun’s million mile-per-hour solar wind inflates a protective bubble, or heliosphere, around the solar system. It influences how things work here on Earth and even out at the boundary of our solar system where it meets the galaxy,” said Dave McComas, Ulysses’ solar wind instrument principal investigator and senior executive director at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “Ulysses data indicate the solar wind’s global pressure is the lowest we have seen since the beginning of the space age.”

Now this may or may not have anything to do with sunspots and/or potential changes in temperature on earth, but is interesting nonetheless that the sun seems to be going through a cyclical down period. And in my comfortable status as arm-chair physicist without any of the rigors of peer review and in a dramatic over-simplification, it appears to me that less active sun = colder on earth, ceteris paribus. More here.