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"And the stars are projectors, yeah, projecting our lives down to this planet Earth." - Modest Mouse


7.06.2004

Amoun Ra 



During sunspot activity the Earth is awash in electromagnetic fields and radio-isotopes. We know this affects our electronics but how does it affect our heads?

Researchers at the Institute for Astronomy in Zurich have determined that over the past 1150 years the Sun has never been as active as it has been in the last 60 years.
In an attempt to determine what happened to sunspots during these other cold periods, Dr Sami Solanki and colleagues have looked at concentrations of a form, or isotope, of beryllium in ice cores from Greenland.

The isotope is created by cosmic rays - high-energy particles from the depths of the galaxy.

The flux of cosmic rays reaching the Earth's surface is modulated by the strength of the solar wind, the charged particles that stream away from the Sun's surface.

And since the strength of the solar wind varies over the sunspot cycle, the amount of beryllium in the ice at a time in the past can therefore be used to infer the state of the Sun and, roughly, the number of sunspots.

But the most striking feature, he says, is that looking at the past 1,150 years the Sun has never been as active as it has been during the past 60 years.

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