When Will Sunspots Strike?

(Photo Credit: NASA)

For the first time scientists have a great way to detect when sunspots are forming and where they are forming on the surface of the sun. We have only had a general sense of  when they will erupt, but now we have the ability to actually detect the formation of sunspots early in the process and track them, which is really amazing. What is a sunspot and what makes them form? Once this formation begins, satellites help scientists watch as the sunspots make their way to the surface. We are just below the peak of the sunspot cycle, which should peak next year when we will see the largest number of coronal mass ejections. These disturbances will create difficulties with wireless communication systems. Also, don’t miss what’s in the night sky this week. All this and more on this week’s Sky Talk.[audio: st20110829.mp3]

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