Every eleven years the sun experiences a peak of sun spot activity, we are nearing this peak period now but activity is low and below predictions. As you can see from the chart above the sun was actually well above average levels for sunspot activity in late 2011, but in 2012 it has been below the predicted levels, as can be seen by the red line. What does this mean? It could mean that the peak actually came in 2011, a year early. The number of sun spots in 2011 did actually reach the predicted peak in terms of what should have happened in 2012. If this is the case we can look forward to decreasing levels in 2013. However, it could also mean that this is the quiet before the storm and we are in for a significant increase in the number of sunspots from the low level we have seen in 2012. The sun may actually make up for the low levels of activity we have been experiencing and over achieve to return is to [...]
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Video of the Two Prominence Eruptions The Sun erupted with two prominence eruptions, one after the other over a four-hour period (Nov. 16, 2012). The action was captured in the 304 Angstrom wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light. It seems possible that the disruption to the Sun’s magnetic field might have triggered the second event since they were in relatively close proximity to each other. The expanding particle clouds heading into space do not appear to be Earth-directed. Credit: NASA/SDO
If you have never seen a total eclipse of the sun before this is an excellent video, you can almost feel the temperature drop as the sun is covered by the disk of the moon. On Nov. 13, 2012, a narrow corridor in the southern hemisphere experienced a total solar eclipse. The corridor lay mostly over the ocean but also cut across the northern tip of Australia where both professional and amateur astronomers gathered to watch. In the video you can watch as the sun disappears behind the disk and then reappears. When seen in person day turns to night and the temperature drop can be felt. While you should never look at an eclipse directly when seen with the correct safety measures the structure of the corona as it moves in the magnetic fields of the sun is interesting to look at.