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No. 8: Fall 1979

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Are the sun's fires going out?

After reviewing solar maeasurements from the last 200 years, Jack Eddy, of the Smithsonian Observatory, has concluded that the sun's diameter shrinks by about 10 kilometers per year. This observation fits nicely with the ten-year-old enigma of missing solar neutrinos. A shrinking diameter implies a cooling sun, while the paucity of neutrinos suggests that the sun's nuclear fires are at a low ebb. Something similar may have happened in the 17th. Century when the so-called Little Ice Age prevailed.

(Anonymous; "Scientists Shrink from Smaller Sun," New Scientist, 82:982, 1979.)

From Science Frontiers #8, Fall 1979. 1979-2000 William R. Corliss