Half a Solar Cycle (July 19, 2003)
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The three images spanning five years represent roughly the top half
of the average 11-year long solar cycle. The first one, from April
1998, catches the Sun about mid-way between minimum activity and
maximum activity. The second shows the Sun not long after its
maximum level in 2001. Note that it has more and larger active
regions (brighter areas). The last, from this week, shows the Sun
about halfway back down the cycle again, appearing rather similar to
the first one's moderate level of activity, as it should. The Sun now
is heading inexorably towards minimum, expected in about 2006. These
images show the Sun's lower corona is extreme ultraviolet light.|
The most common measure of the solar cycle is in the number of sunspots, not shown directly here. However, the active regions we do see in UV light generally correspond to areas of strong magnetic activity that are seen in white light imaging as sunspots or groups of sunspots.
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SOHO began its Weekly Pick some time after sending a weekly image or video clip to the American Museum of Natural History (Rose Center) in New York City. There, the SOHO Weekly Pick is displayed with some annotations on a large plasma display.
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