archive: SETI [ASTRO] Whole Sun Month at Solar Minimum: Results of a

SETI [ASTRO] Whole Sun Month at Solar Minimum: Results of a

Larry Klaes ( )
Thu, 13 May 1999 18:22:10 -0400

>X-Authentication-Warning: majordom set sender
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>Date: Thu, 13 May 1999 17:41:52 GMT
>From: Ron Baalke <>
>Subject: [ASTRO] Whole Sun Month at Solar Minimum: Results of a Worldwide
>Reply-To: Ron Baalke <>
>American Geophysical Union
>Public Information Office
>2000 Florida Avenue, N.W.
>Washington, D.C. 20009
>(202) 462-6900 / FAX 202-328-0566
>Contact: Harvey Leifert, (202) 939-3212,
>For Immediate Release: May 10, 1999
>Whole Sun Month at Solar Minimum: Results of a Worldwide Study
>WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Scientists have completed a comprehensive
>study of the Sun during a month of its most recent quiet period, using
>instruments not previously available. They have compiled data and
>gained insights that will be useful as the Sun reaches its period of
>maximum sunspot activity in the year 2000.
>Whole Sun Month was a two-year collaborative effort of the Inter-
>Agency Consultative Group (IACG) Campaign 4 and the Solar and
>Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) Working Group Joint Observing
>Program 44. Under its auspices, an international and interdisciplinary
>group of scientists studied the Sun from August 8 to September 10,
>1996, a period known as solar minimum. Although two workshops
>have been devoted to Whole Sun Month (WSM) and some results have
>been reported at meetings of the American Geophysical Union and
>other organizations and in some journal articles, the first
>comprehensive, peer reviewed compilation appears in the current
>issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research.
>The Sun exhibits an approximately eleven year cycle of sunspots,
>with a shorter period from minimum to maximum than for maximum
>back to minimum. At solar minimum, there are few sunspots and
>related magnetic activity, such as solar wind. In their introduction
>to the 237 page special section on WSM, Antoinette B. Galvin of
>the University of New Hampshire and John L. Kohl of the Harvard-
>Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics state that the project's
>objective was to gain an understanding of the large-scale, stable
>structures that dominate the solar corona at solar minimum.
>The corona is the outermost layer of the solar atmosphere, and Galvin
>and Kohl say that understanding the large-scale corona is fundamental
>to understanding how and where the solar wind is accelerated. The
>solar wind, an outflow of particles and magnetic fields, can affect
>communications on Earth, especially during the solar maximum.
>The 19 papers in the JGR special section are divided into four major
>areas of investigation:
>* Global Morphology. This section includes the largest variety of
> synoptic maps of the Sun ever published in a single paper.
>* Structure and Physical Properties of the Corona. This section
> describes determinations of the density and structure of the
> corona, essential for understanding and modeling the formation of
> the solar wind.
>* Structure and Physical Properties of the "Elephant's Trunk." This
> was an unusual, elongated coronal hole that appeared during the
> study period.
>* In Situ Observations. Observations were not limited to the Sun
> itself; this section analyzes the effect of solar minimum at the
> Earth and up to 4.3 times the distance of the Earth from the Sun.
>Funding for the Whole Sun Month study was provided by NASA, the
>United Kingdom PPARC, National Science Foundation, European Space
>Agency, and other agencies.
>Copies of the Whole Sun Month study are available to nonmembers
>of AGU from its Customer Service office (800-966-2481) at a cost
>of $40. Ask for JGR, volume 104, number A5. The issue, including
>other papers on space physics, contains 710 pages.
>Note: We have a strictly limited number of this issue of JGR available
>at no charge for science writers and science public information
>officers (only). Please send your request to Harvey Leifert