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©2008 by Richard Nolle

WOW!OCT 6, 2008 - Solar Wind Loses Power is one of several discoveries that made the news the past week or two, and they all point to our friendly neighborhood star acting a little peculiar of late. In combination with simultaneous global warming both here on Earth and on Mars, it's enough to make a person wonder if our parent star isn't getting a little cranky. And if that's not enough to remind us that we are woven into the cosmic tapestry - well, what's an astrology for? Nobody knows why it's happening, but we do know that the solar wind has lost about 20% of its power since the mid-1990s. That's not the half of it: the solar magnetic field has weakened by 30% in the same period. Combined, these two factors reduce the strength of the solar field that fends off cosmic radiation from deep space. And then there's the current prolonged solar minimum, a three year-long dearth of sunspots the likes of which hasn't been seen since the 1930s. It's said that there's nothing new under the sun. If this keeps up, there may be something new inside it. Was there a similar drop in the solar wind back in the 1930s? No one knows, because there was no instrumentation for measuring it back then. So no one can say whether we're looking at abnormal solar behavior, or merely something that falls within statistical norms. I'll bet on the latter, but it will be interesting to see how this shakes out.

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