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No. 71: Sep-Oct 1990

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During the 400-or-so years we have been counting sunspots and taking other measures of solar activity, the sun has, on the average, been getting more and more rambunctious. The sunspot peaks have been ascending to greater heights every 11-or-so years. Right now, near the peak of the present cycle, the earth is being bombarded by extra-high fluxes of X-rays, ultraviolet light, and other energetic radiation. A century ago, no one would have noticed or cared, but today our technological infrastructure is suffering. K.H. Schatten has listed some of the "sunburn symptoms" in a recent article in Nature.

(Schatten, Kenneth H.; "The Sun's Disturbing Behavior," Nature, 345:578, 1990.)

Comment. It would be interesting to learn whether the "computer errors" we encounter so frequently follow the sunspot cycle.

One phenomenon, at least, seems anticorrelated with solar activity: The number of solar neutrinos measured here on earth falls as sunspots multiply. This is particularly puzzling because neutrinos are presumably generated in the solar core, whereas sunspots are supposed to be manifestations of solar-surface activity. One phenomenon "should not" affect the other. (Waldrop, M. Mitchell; "Solar NeutrinoSunspot Connection Found," Science, 248:444, 1990.)

From Science Frontiers #71, SEP-OCT 1990. 1990-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987