What has happened to the Sun? Solar wind speed drops to near 50-year low


September 2, 2011What has happened to the Sun? The solar winds have fallen to a low speed: 280.3 km/sec with a proton density event of 0.9 protons/cm3. The average solar wind speed is about 400 km per second. The diminishing solar activity, despite a plethora of sunspots painted across the surface of the Sun, led Space Weather to declare: “The solar disk is peppered with sunspot groups, at least eight of them. None of them, however, is producing strong flares. Solar activity remains generally low.” The last time the solar wind speed was this low was in 2008 when the solar wind velocity fell to 290.0 km with a proton density of 3.3 protons/cm3 but today’s reading is even lower than 2008. See 2008 solar wind reading:
The dismal output of solar activity in 2008 led NASA scientists to conclude: “A wind of charged particles that stream constantly from the sun is at its lowest level ever recorded in the 50 years since spacecraft have made the measurement possible. The Ulysses spacecraft observed the weak solar winds, the constant, high-speed stream of particles that races from the sun, during a quiet period in the sun’s activity. The solar weather cycle affects Earth and other planets in the solar system. “We know that the sun has been this cool before, this inactive before,” said Nancy Crooker, a physicist at Boston University in Boston, Mass., during a NASA teleconference on Tuesday. “But that was prior to the Space Age, so we didn’t have actual physical measurements until now.” The solar wind’s charged particles blow out from the sun at a blistering 1 million mph, sweeping away background radiation and colliding with incoming galactic cosmic rays from distant stars. It effectively encloses our solar system in a protective bubble called the heliosphere.” –Space.com –September 23, 2008
More Cosmic Rays hitting Earth: “The solar wind isn’t inflating the heliosphere as much as it used to,” says McComas. “That means less shielding against cosmic rays.” In addition to weakened solar wind, “Ulysses also finds that the sun’s underlying magnetic field has weakened by more than 30% since the mid-1990s,” says Posner. “This reduces natural shielding even more.” –NASA  –September 23, 2008
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27 Responses to What has happened to the Sun? Solar wind speed drops to near 50-year low

  1. Raven says:

    Calm before the storm..? What’s going on…..like when the water pulls back before a tsunami? Who knows….but the sun is being very interesting!
    Feels like everything is building Alvin….


  2. docatomics says:

    RAGNARöK time`N’space has come to my Earth & Heliosphere, as it was 13,000 years ago when the Clovis Extinction rained down upon my Earth;
    Just putting wild guess on this, as I must (the bit of space weather data I am still able to study is by and large suspect and corrupted from those that don’t wish any to come to know anything but a dependency upon their useless parastical subjugations) but it could be the heliosphere is being over pressured and oblated as we pass threw densor regions of the Local Interstellar cloud and this counteract the Solar winds emission, which further deminishes our heavenly host comfortor


  3. Whirlwind says:

    There is a inverse relationship between cosmic rays and solar wind. When the wind is high, not as many rays get through and vice versa. The scary thing is that back in 1815 when Tambora erupted, the sun was having a cool period as well….and I really think those two are directly related….we shall see.


  4. Patty says:

    Here’s my guess. The lack of solar winds makes the sky “feel” like there is more “hardened ions.” Thank you Alvin for your premier science info! Now I know what I’ve been “feeling.” Every once in a while, I’ll go outside and the sky feels to me like steel. There are other days that the sky seems so moisturized I can almost taste it. This is not dependent on how many clouds there are or rain – it is different. So now I understand that when there are few solar winds, that is why the sky feels hard as opposed to soft. (in my way of sensing things). You’ve answered my wonderings about this for sure – now I understand for myself. When the sky (heavens) become hardened there are few solar winds affecting the planet. We are in deep trouble. For me, the sky has been getting very hard these past few weeks and I was wondering what was up. A hardened sky is a pressured atmosphere – which would then effect the mantle of the earth and trouble it because the earth being an organic body needs a softened sky (the stuff the solar winds bring). Whoooo boy! Now I get it!


  5. john says:

    another question does a weak solar wind speed mean jetstreams also beacome weaker on earth


  6. Raven says:

    Ahhh yes I see! Thank you Alvin…I was also talking to someone recently about Post-glacial rebound…do you have any thoughts on this possibility? I have been reading a lot about this Interstellar Cloud…very interesting! Here is a link you may enjoy Alvin…http://www.susanrennison.com/News_oftheimbalance.php and also this : http://collegerama.tudelft.nl/mediasite/SilverlightPlayer/Default.aspx?peid=c29550a872814c2a9e7ba28ac0c7d1e61d
    Raven x


  7. Rick says:

    This is not unprecedented. In May of 1999, the solar wind decreased to 98%, lowest ever recorded:

    “Starting late on May 10 [1999] and continuing through the early hours of May 12, NASA’s ACE and Wind spacecraft each observed that the density of the solar wind dropped by more than 98%. Because of the decrease, energetic electrons from the Sun were able to flow to Earth in narrow beams, known as the strahl. Under normal conditions, electrons from the Sun are diluted, mixed, and redirected in interplanetary space and by Earth’s magnetic field (the magnetosphere). But in May 1999, several satellites detected electrons arriving at Earth with properties similar to those of electrons in the Sun’s corona, suggesting that they were a direct sample of particles from the Sun.”



    • Actually, it was the solar wind density that dropped by 98% —- the wind speed only decreased to about half the normal which should still have been in 200+ kms range. It might also bear noting that the event occurred with 6 sunspots on the Sun, as now, and in solar cycle 23 which produced the largest flare ever to erupt on the Sun in 2003- an X45. Still over the last 50 years, solar wind speed has been gradually abating in general which again begs the question, what is happening to our star. Thanks for the insightful info, Rick.



      • Rick says:

        And thank YOU for pointing out that distinction between the solar density and solar wind. I didn’t catch it.

        Best regards and keep up the great work!


  8. Yasmine says:

    I had a dream few nights a go of the earth being pulled by a gigantic plant with a whirl ring of dust around it, I saw earth looking like it was being pulled into the ring. I woke up in a fright. I went back to sleep and I saw orbits and fires blazing on lands. It was scary to say the least.


  9. Dennis E. says:

    can we expect a colder than normal winter this year because of this?


  10. Bone Idle says:

    Current solar activity is at an historical precedence. Nothing like the current activity has been observed in written observational history. Solar scientists are observing a completely new paradigm. For a few centuries of observations the sun has been following a familiar more or less 22 year cycle.

    Different solar scientists disagree on the consequences of what is currently underway (which actually shows how little is actually known about the sun and it’s influences). Any solar scientist issuing short or long range forecast and likely results is using EWAG logic (estimated wild a….guess). It’s a wait and see program at the moment.

    For information on heliospheric influences read Svensmark.


  11. goodbyemilkyway says:

    The Solar Wind..

    The Sun, is Alive..breaths..it breathes “in” and it breathes ‘out’…..it is breathing in a lot, more holes sucking >in , than blowing out

    the Sun is coming into its Equinox..not the Earth, this is all about..the Sun, ‘Son”


  12. horusra says:

    the bible says the sun will get seven time brighter , maybe it will happen soon ! but if it don’t ,then the sun is running out of hydrogen and its starting to burn helium ……


  13. Dennis E. says:

    If it is felt that something big this way comes, then what should our response be, what to prepare for?


  14. whats the lowest the solar winds have ever been?


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