The Sun Is Stranger Than Astrophysicists Imagined

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Natalie Wolchover writing in Quantum Magazine has the details:

A decade’s worth of telescope observations of the sun have revealed a startling mystery: Gamma rays, the highest frequency waves of light, radiate from our nearest star seven times more abundantly than expected. Stranger still, despite this extreme excess of gamma rays overall, a narrow bandwidth of frequencies is curiously absent.

The surplus light, the gap in the spectrum, and other surprises about the solar gamma-ray signal potentially point to unknown features of the sun’s magnetic field, or more exotic physics.

“It’s amazing that we were so spectacularly wrong about something we should understand really well: the sun,” said Brian Fields, a particle astrophysicist at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

The unexpected signal has emerged in data from the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, a NASA observatory that scans the sky from its outpost in low-Earth orbit. As more Fermi data have accrued, revealing the spectrum of gamma rays coming from the sun in ever-greater detail, the puzzles have only proliferated.

“We just kept finding surprising things,” said Annika Peter of Ohio State University, a co-author of a recent white paper summarizing several years of findings about the solar gamma-ray signal. “It’s definitely the most surprising thing I’ve ever worked on.”

Not only is the gamma-ray signal far stronger than a decades-old theory predicts; it also extends to much higher frequencies than predicted, and it inexplicably varies across the face of the sun and throughout the 11-year solar cycle. Then there’s the gap, which researchers call a “dip” — a lack of gamma rays with frequencies around 10 trillion trillion hertz. “The dip just defies all logic,” said Tim Linden, a particle astrophysicist at Ohio State who helped analyze the signal.

Fields, who wasn’t involved in the work, said, “They’ve done a great job with the data, and the story it tells is really kind of amazing.”

Continue reading HERE.

Download white paper HERE.

The science is never settled, there is always something new to learn and marvel over.  What do you think is happening on the sun?  My vote is the dip is instrument error, until we have more data from another source to confirm the dip.  Stay tuned this is going to be exciting!

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The Weakening Of Earth’s Magnetic Field Has Greatly Accelerated

Earth’s magnetic field is getting significantly weaker, the magnetic north pole is shifting at an accelerating pace, and scientists readily admit that a sudden pole shift could potentially cause “trillions of dollars” in damage. Today, most of us take the protection provided by Earth’s magnetic field completely for granted. It is essentially a colossal force field which surrounds our planet and makes life possible. And even with such protection, a giant solar storm could still potentially hit our planet and completely fry our power grid. But as our magnetic field continues to get weaker and weaker, even much smaller solar storms will have the potential to be cataclysmic. And once the magnetic field gets weak enough, we will be facing much bigger problems. As you will see below, if enough solar radiation starts reaching our planet none of us will survive.
But now we are being told that data collected from the SWARM satellite indicate that the rate of decay is now 5 percent per decade…

It’s well established that in modern times, the axial dipole component of Earth’s main magnetic field is decreasing by approximately 5% per century. Recently, scientists using the SWARM satellite announced that their data indicate a decay rate ten times faster, or 5% per decade.

In case you didn’t quite get that, 5 percent per decade is 10 times faster than 5 percent per century.

If the rate of decay continues at this pace, or if it speeds up, even more, we could be looking at a mass extinction event that is beyond what most people would dare to imagine.

Source: Zero Hedge 

As the magnetic field strength declines, more cosmic ray could create more clouds and we could see significant cooling? Of course, that could be the least of our problems. That raises a question, what was the magnetic fields strength at the start of the last grand minimum, at the start of the last Ice Age. Anyone know how to get an estimate?