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Release No. 02-08: Scientists Predict Calmer Weather Ahead
For Release: March 19, 2002

solar flare This image shows a spectacular ejection of matter from the Sun on January 4, 2002. There are many events like this when the Sun is in its very active phase as it has been recently. The inset at the top right shows a map of coronal holes on the Sun. Blue areas have negative polarity and red areas have positive polarity. The UVCS instrument on SOHO has been tracking coronal holes over the last half of the solar activity cycle, as the magnetic polarity of the Sun reversed. The reappearance of coronal holes at the poles of the Sun show that calmer times are ahead.

(Image credits: The left image is a composite image from the EIT and LASCO instruments on the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). SOHO is a mission of international cooperation between the European Space Agency and NASA. The right inset image is made from data provided by Karen Harvey and Frank Recely of the National Solar Observatory at Kitt Peak. NSO/Kitt Peak data used here are produced cooperatively by NSF/NOAO, NASA/GSFC, and NOAA/SEL.

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solar cycle The red regions in this animation are coronal holes with positive (north) magnetic polarity and the blue regions are coronal holes with negative (south) polarity. These observations were made from 1996 when the Sun was at its minimum level of activity until now when it has passed through its maximum level of activity and is now in a declining phase as it approaches solar minimum in 2007. The bar magnet and the white lines depict the Sun's magnetic field that had its positive magnetic pole at the north pole of the Sun in 1996, but the polarity has now nearly reversed.

(Image credit: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)

Animated GIF

solar flare A magnificent solar flare recorded by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory.

(Image credits: Composite image from the EIT and LASCO instruments on the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).

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Last modified on Wednesday, 20-Mar-2002 14:43:26 EST
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