ZODIACAL LIGHTS: This is a good time of year for people in the northern hemisphere to look for early-morning Zodiacal Lights. Also known as the "false dawn" because they resemble a hint of sunrise, Zodiacal Lights appear an hour or so before true dawn--a pale luminous triangle jutting upward from the eastern horizon. Canadian Dominic Cantin took this recent picture of Zodiacal Lights side by side with auroras. The two kinds of lights are unrelated. Auroras are caused by geomagnetic storms. Zodiacal Lights are caused by sunlight-reflecting dust particles adrift among the planets. Early-morning Zodiacal Lights are most easily seen in Sept. and Oct. because those are months when the dusty plane of our solar system pokes over the horizon almost vertically. Look for them on dark mornings after a new moon; rural areas with clear skies offer the best view. (SEPT 2003)
Part of LaViolette Cosmic Dust/Debris T-Tauri Sun Theory:
Theory Predictions and their Subsequent Verification full theory here by Dr. LaViolette..Excerpts:
Cosmic Debris Around Solar System - prevailing concept (1980 - 83): At the time of this prediction, astronomers believed that the solar system resided in a relatively dust free region of space.
Prediction No. 4 (1980 - 83): LaViolette hypothesized that large amounts of interstellar dust and frozen cometary debris lie outside the solar system just beyond the heliopause sheath and form a reservoir of material that would have supplied large amounts of cosmic dust during a prehistoric superwave event.
Verification (1984): The IRAS satellite team published infrared observations showing that the solar system is surrounded by nearby "cirrus" dust cloud wisps.
Verification (1988): Astronomer H. Aumann´s observations suggested that the solar system is surrounded by a dust envelope 500 times denser than previously thought.
Verification (1992 - 95): Telescope observations revealed the presence of the Kuiper belt, a dense population of cometary bodies encircling the solar system, beginning just beyond the orbit of Neptune and extending outward past the heliopause sheath.
Cosmic Dust Influx - prevailing concept (1979): At the time of this prediction, astronomers believed that the rate at which cosmic dust particles have been entering the solar system and the Earth´s atmosphere has remained constant for millions of years. They believed that the solar system lies in a relatively clean interstellar space environment and hence that there is no need to expect the occurrence of recent cosmic dust incursions.
Prediction No. 5 (Sept. 1979): LaViolette theorized that if a cosmic ray volley (superwave) had passed by at the end of the ice age, it would have pushed nearby interstellar dust into the solar system. To test this, he began a plan to analyze ice age polar ice for traces of cosmic dust.
Verification (1981 - 82): LaViolette was the first to measure the extraterrestrial material content of prehistoric polar ice. Using the neutron activation analysis technique, he found high levels of iridium and nickel in 6 out of the 8 polar ice dust samples (35k to 73k yrs BP), an indication that they contain high levels of cosmic dust. This showed that Galactic superwaves may have affected our solar system in the recent past. In addition, he discovered gold in one 50,000 year old sample, making this the first time gold had been discovered in polar ice.
Verification (1984): The IRAS satellite team reported observations that the zodiacal dust cloud is tilted 3 degrees relative to the ecliptic with ascending and descending ecliptic nodes at 87° and 267°, but failed to draw a conclusion from this finding. LaViolette realized that the nodes are aligned with the Galactic-center-anticenter direction in support of his earlier prediction that interstellar dust has recently entered the solar system from the Galactic center direction. 1987: He published a paper in Earth, Moon, and Planets journal explaining that the orientation of the zodiacal dust cloud nodes indicates that this zodiacal dust recently entered from the direction of the Galactic center.
Verification (April 1993): NASA´s Ulysses spacecraft team published observations indicating that interstellar dust is currently entering the solar system from the Galactic center direction (from the direction the interstellar wind blows towards us) and hence that most of the dust outside the asteroid belt is of interstellar origin. Their findings were predicted by LaViolette´s 1983 and 1987 publications. One Ulysses team member had received Dr. LaViolette´s publications in 1985, but LaViolette´s work was not cited.
Verification (1995): Cosmochemists publish observations showing that Helium-3 concentrations in ocean sediments, an indicator of extraterrestrial dust influx, changed by over 3 fold on a 100,000 year cycle between 250,000 and 450,000 years ago.
Verification (1996): The AMOR radar in New Zealand detected a strong flux of interstellar meteoroid particles, measuring 15 to 40 microns in size, entering the solar system from the Galactic center direction.
Prehistoric Solar Conflagration - prevailing concept (1983): At the time of LaViolette´s prediction, the general opinion was that the Sun has remained in its present quiescent solar cycle state for hundreds of millions of years. A small group of astronomers, however, dissented with this view. For example, in 1969, astrophysicist Thomas Gold published lunar rock evidence indicating that, within the last 30,000 years, the radiation intensity on the Moon had reached 100 suns for 10 to 100 seconds, possibly due to a solar nova. In 1975, astronomer A. Lovell suggested that sun-like stars occasionly produce flares of up to 10^37 ergs, 30,000 times more energetic than the largest solar flare of modern times. In 1977, astrophysicists Wdowczyk and Wolfendale suggested that the Sun might produce a flare a million times larger (3 X 10^38 ergs) about once every 100,000 years. Moreover in 1978, NASA astronomers Zook, Hartung, and Storzer had published lunar rock evidence indicating that 16,000 years ago solar flare background radiation intensity on the Moon´s surface had peaked to 50 times the current intensity and that this may have been somehow associated with the retreat of the ice sheets. The idea that the Earth and Moon might have been affected in the past by the arrival of a giant solar coronal mass ejection had not yet been advanced.
Prediction No. 8 (1983): In his dissertation, LaViolette proposed that invading cosmic dust would have caused the Sun to become more luminous and engage in continual flaring activity. In chapter 4, he suggested that on one occasion the Earth and Moon may have been engulfed by a large prominence remnant "fireball" (coronal mass ejection) thrown out by the Sun during a period of particularly intense solar activity. He interpreted the findings of Zook and Gold as evidence that the Sun had been in a highly active T-Tauri like flaring state and that at times its flaring activity had been as much as 1000 times currently observed levels. He suggested that these may have scorched the surface of the Earth in ice age times, inducing high temperatures, rapid ice sheet melting, global flooding, and mass animal extinction.
Concordance (1997): Satellite observations showed solar flares ejecting expanding balls of plasma called "coronal mass ejections"and demonstrated that these were capable of travelling outward beyond the Earth´s orbit. This lent credance to LaViolette´s theory that a large coronal plasma "fireball" thrown off by an immense solar flare may have reached the Earth and Moon and scorched their surfaces.
Concordance (1999): Astronomers announced that they had observed large explosive outbursts from the surfaces of nearby normal sunlike stars. These "superflares" were observed to range from 100 to 10 million times the energy of the largest flare observed on the Sun in modern times and were estimated to occur about once every hundred years. This confirmed the Lovell hypothesis and increased the plausibility of LaViolette´s suggestion that the Sun was producing mega solar flares and intense plasma fireballs at the end of the last ice age.
Ulysses Reports Solar Change and Cosmic Debris Increase:
The Sun's galactic environment. Artwork by P.C. Frisch, University of Chicago
Ulysses spacecraft sees galactic dust on the rise
ESA Sees Stardust Storms Heading For Solar System
ESA sees stardust storms heading for Solar System
" However, during solar maximum - A phase of intense activity inside the Sun that marks the end of each 11-year solar cycle - The magnetic field becomes disordered as its polarity reverses. As - result, the Sun's shielding power weakens and more stardust can sneak in. What is surprising in this new Ulysses discovery is that the amount of stardust has continued to increase even after the solar activity calmed down and the magnetic field resumed its ordered shape in 2001. Scientists believe that this is due to the way in which the polarity changed during solar maximum. Instead of reversing completely, flipping north to south, the Sun's magnetic poles have only rotated at halfway and are now more or less lying sideways along the Sun's equator. This weaker configuration of the magnetic shield is letting in two to three times more stardust than at the end of the 1990s. Moreover, this influx could increase by as much as ten times until the end of the current solar cycle in 2012. "
Ulysses Sees Increase In Galactic Dust Counts
" The reversal always occurs during
solar maximum. That’s when the magnetic field is highly disordered, allowing
more interstellar dust to enter the Solar System.
It is interesting to note that in the reversed configuration after the recent
solar maximum (North negative, South positive), the interstellar dust is even
channelled more efficiently towards the inner Solar System.
So we can expect even more interstellar dust from 2005
onwards, once the changes become fully effective. "
SOLAR CYCLE UPDATE:
Final sunspot counts for the year 2008 are now available and the numbers are very low. The sun was utterly blank--that is, it had no sunspots whatsoever--on 266 days last year. That makes 2008 a century-class year in terms of low sunspot numbers. To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go all the way back to 1913, which had 311 spotless days. Now for the good news: Evidence is mounting that the deep solar minimum of 2008 is coming to an end; we can expect a livelier sun in 2009.
SS: this space debris is from the OORT cloud and thus is the same material that fueled the protostar to cause it to ignite from a protostar into a star .. secret order theory this cosmic dust acts as a fuel to the sun and is the cause of the white sun phenomena .
Star System Soaked With 'Rain'
To Make a Star, Add Ice and Stir
Stars are born out of icy cocoons of gas and dust that form a disk and clump together into planets. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope was able to detect water vapor as it smacks down on a disk circling a forming star called NGC 1333-IRAS 4B. This vapor started out as ice in the outer envelope, but vaporized upon its arrival at the disk. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
SOHO's latest surprise: gas near the Sun heading the wrong way
20-Nov-2001 " Mysterious clouds of gas falling towards the Sun have been spotted with the ESA-NASA SOHO spacecraft. They go against the fast-moving streams of gas that pour out continuously into space, in the solar wind. In today's issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters, the scientists who found them suggest that the inflows are due to frequent local adjustments to the Sun's magnetic field. The discovery promises a better understanding of the sources of the solar magnetism that envelops the Earth, quarrels with our own planet's field, and to some extent protects us from cosmic rays coming from the stars. "
Surprises from the Sun's South Pole
" "Particle events of this kind were seen during the second polar passes in 2000 and 2001, at solar maximum," said Richard Marsden, ESA's Ulysses Project Scientist and Mission Manager. "We certainly didn't expect to see them at high latitudes at solar minimum."
Scientists are busy trying to understand how the charged particles made it all the way to the poles. "Charged particles have to follow magnetic field lines, and the magnetic field pattern of the Sun near solar minimum ought to make it much more difficult for the particles to move in latitude," said Marsden. "
The Flow of Interstellar Helium in the Solar System
Above: The Sun's gravity deflects the interstellar helium breeze and causes it to pile up downstream from the sun. This concentration is helpful to spacecraft observing the wispy-thin flow.
SS: Scorpio and Sagittarius are the direction of our galactic core known as hunab ku to the mayans. it is from this direction the interstellar winds flow from the galactic center to our solar system bringing with it interstellar dust. The sun is in this region of the sky known as the hunab ku every year in december .. the above graphic shows the flow of interstellar winds from the hunab ku galactic center .
Solar Wind Loses Power, Hits 50-year Low
The heliosphere is a bubble of magnetism springing from the sun and inflated to colossal proportions by the solar wind. Every planet from Mercury to Pluto and beyond is inside it. The heliosphere is our solar system's first line of defense against galactic cosmic rays. High-energy particles from black holes and supernovas try to enter the solar system, but most are deflected by the heliosphere's magnetic fields.
Right: The heliosphere. Click to view a larger image showing the rest of the bubble.
"The solar wind isn't inflating the heliosphere as much as it used to," says McComas. "That means less shielding against cosmic rays."
In addition to weakened solar wind, "Ulysses also finds that the sun's underlying magnetic field has weakened by more than 30% since the mid-1990s," says Posner. "This reduces natural shielding even more."
Unpublished Ulysses cosmic ray data show that, indeed, high energy (GeV) electrons, a minor but telltale component of cosmic rays around Earth, have jumped in number by about 20%.
These extra particles pose no threat to people on Earth's surface. Our thick atmosphere and planetary magnetic field provide additional layers of protection that keep us safe.
But any extra cosmic rays can have consequences. If the trend continues, astronauts on the Moon or en route to Mars would get a higher dose of space radiation. Robotic space probes and satellites in high Earth orbit face an increased risk of instrument malfunctions and reboots due to cosmic ray strikes. Also, there are controversial studies linking cosmic ray fluxes to cloudiness and climate change on Earth. That link may be tested in the years ahead.
Were you born under an active sun or a quiet sun? To find out, enter your birth date in the sunspot plotter: The red curve traces monthly-averaged sunspot numbers tabulated by the Solar Influences Data Center in Belgium. Data points go all the way back to 1755, so you can investigate the relationship between solar activity and many historical events: Do stocks crash during solar minimum? (Some people think so.) Did NASA send astronauts to the Moon during Solar Max? How do sunspots affect the length of mini-skirts? If you find any interesting coincidences, be sure to tell the webmaster.
Of the Sunscreens
Additional Solar Data:
Sun more active than for a millennium
Long Range Solar Forecast
New Model Predicts More Intense Solar Storms Ahead
Mars Melt Hints at Solar, Not Human, Cause for Warming, Scientist Says
SUNSET SUNDOG: Peg Staudenmaier of Green Bay, Wisconsin, was enjoying a splendid sunset on May 21st when she noticed a rainbow-colored splash of light hovering to the left of the sun. It was a sundog caused by flat ice crystals fluttering to Earth from the cold upper troposphere. "This park on the waters of Green Bay is a popular sunset spot, yet there were onlookers who had never seen a sundog before," says Peg. This one grew in eye-catching brightess as the sun set and lasted about 10 minutes.
Whereas the Egyptians studied the movements of the Hyades, Orion and its companion star Sirius, the Maya were more interested in the nearby Pleiades star-cluster. They viewed it as the warning rattle of a great cosmic serpent, which seems to have corresponded to the ecliptic. The head of this serpent was the sun and they believed that it was the source of all life on earth.
The Mouse That Roared: Pipsqueak Star Unleashes Monster Flare
Strange Clouds at the Edge of Space
August 25, 2008
These findings are new and important,
but they don't yet unravel the central mysteries:
Why did NLCs first appear in the 19th century?
Why are they spreading?
What is ice doing in a rarefied layer of Earth's upper atmosphere that is one hundred million times dryer than air from the Sahara desert?
RESEARCH IN PROGRESS