Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Solar 'Conveyor Belt' Runs At Record-High Speeds
by Staff Writers
Huntsville AL (SPX) Mar 16, 2010

Diagram of the distribution of the sun's magnetic field over three 11-year solar cycles. Yellow represents magnetic field directed out of the sun. Blue represents magnetic field into the sun. Sunspots themselves produce the "Butterfly" pattern at low latitudes. The sun's meridional flow from the equator to the poles in each hemisphere carries magnetic remains of the sunspots to the poles. This produces the streaks seen at higher latitudes and reverses the magnetic polarity of the sun's poles every 11 years. Image credit: NASA/MSFC/David Hathaway. For a larger version of this image please go here.

Solar physicist David Hathaway of NASA's Marshall Space flight Center in Huntsville, AL and graduate student Lisa Rightmire of the University of Memphis in Tennessee have been monitoring the sun using the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).

They observe a massive circulating current of fire (hot plasma) within the sun operating at a faster pace as reported in the March 12th issue of Science.

The current of fire is a conveyor belt-like system called the Meridional Flow which rises to the surface at the sun's equator and spreads out toward the poles where it sinks back into the sun. "Normally it reaches peak speeds of about 20 mph," says Hathaway.

"However, in 2004 the speed increased to nearly 30 mph and has remained that fast since."

The faster pace is a revelation because it occurred during the deepest solar minimum in almost 100 years and indications that the next solar cycle will be a weak one.

This contradicts some theories that say a fast pace results in increased sunspot production. But it agrees with others that say a fast pace results in decreased sunspot production.

The faster rate of currents on the sun and the expected weaker solar cycle have affects for those of us here on Earth.

One affect is the temperature increase of the Earth could slow down, there would be fewer auroras, and to the extent that we depend on satellites, GPS, and cell phones there should be less disruption in service.


Related Links
"Solar 'Current of Fire' Speeds Up" (Science@NASA article)
Solar Science News at SpaceDaily

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The Great Conveyor Belt Of Sol Running Fast
Huntsville AL (SPX) Mar 15, 2010
NASA solar physicist David Hathaway reports that the top of the sun's Great Conveyor Belt has been running at record-high speeds for the past five years. "I believe this could explain the unusually deep solar minimum we've been experiencing," says Hathaway. "The high speed of the conveyor belt challenges existing models of the solar cycle and it has forced us back to the drawing board for new id ... read more

New Lunar Images And Data Available To Public

Astronauts decry Obama moon decision

Rocket To Go To Moon Under Design

Student Ready To Battle At 17th Annual Great Moonbuggy Race

Lost Into Space Goes The Martian Atmosphere

Opportunity Driving Away From Concepcion Crater

Russia Shortlists 11 For 520-Day Simulation Of Mars Mission

Lava Likely Made River-Like Channel On Mars

US lawmakers urge Obama to save NASA moon program

Bipartisan Legislation Introduced To Close The Space Gap

Go Into The Webb Telescope Clean Room

Obama to host April space conference

China To Conduct Maiden Space Docking In 2011

China chooses first women astronauts

Russian Launch Issues Delaying China's First Mars Probe

China Plans To Launch Third Unmanned Moon Probe Around 2013

World Space Agencies Confirm Serviceability Of ISS Through 2020

ISS Expedition 22 To Return To Earth On March 18

ISS Space Agency Heads Meet To Plan 2011 Operations

Space station could operate until 2028, says consortium

ILS Proton To Launch Intelsat 21 And 23

Parallel Preparations Continue For Ariane 5 Flights

USAF Force Licenses Two Launch Complexes For Commercial Use

Aerojet Supports Launch and Orbital Placement of GOES-P

How To Hunt For Exoplanets

Watching A Planetary Death March

Seeing ExoPlanet Atmospheres From The Ground

New Technique For Detecting Earth-Like Planets

Raytheon, Motion Reality Ink Agreement For Virtual Applications

Shocking Recipe For Making Killer Electrons

First Station Materials Science Rack Being Processed

Three FASTSAT Instruments Pass Tests

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement