• May 25, 2006

    Episode 37: Sunspot Cycle

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    Sunspots are dark regions, cooler than the rest of the Sun's surface, that appear and disappear. Every 11 years, the Sun cycles from spotty to clear and then back again. Sunspots bring increased solar storms, which can harm Earth satellites, communications and power, so understanding their cycles and strengths would be beneficial. But the Sun's 11 year cycle of sunspots and solar storms has always been difficult to predict accurately. Now scientists using new technology and new models may have done just that. Helioseismology, for instance, is a new technique that tracks sound waves reverberating inside the Sun to reveal details about its interior.