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New solar minimum could change the world economy

(Flickr/NASA)

The Sun is the source of light, heat and well-being for our planet.

Taking a closer look at the Sun and how the solar sunspot cycle affects the Earth is an amazing story in itself.

We have been taught that the basic sunspot cycle is a period of 11 years from peak to peak. We have also learned that during this cycle the Earth is affected in many ways, too.

During the peak of a solar cycle, many sunspots appear on the surface or photosphere of the Sun, along with many solar flares and larger events known as CMEs, or coronal mass ejections. These events stream high energy particles at the Earth and may disrupt radio and computer electronics.

The Sun is a fascinating laboratory for discovery and we are learning much more about the true nature of the solar cycle.

The 11-year solar cycle is only a small portion of what we are learning about, with regard to the longer and deeper cycles that really power the Sun.

New and exciting research is telling us that the next solar minimum in sunspot cycle 25 may be the deepest minimum in more than 100 years of observation.

If that is true, data showed that during solar minimum with less sunspots, solar surface flares and CMEs, there is a strong potential for a large scale cooling of the weather systems on Earth.

This is contrary to many who believe that a steady increase in global temperatures are due primarily to human factors.

The Sun and its output are now being looked at as the main source of future economic conditions on Earth.

New research claimed that a spotless Sun during previous sunspot minima have lead to sustained periods of cold weather and crop failures around the planet.

The most pronounced was the great Maunder Minimum from 1640 to 1715, in which the Earth experienced some major climactic change.

There have been other deep solar minima, but not on the same scale as the Grand Minimum, as described above. They are the Dalton Minimum (1798-1823), the Gleissberg Minimum and the current Eddy Minimum.

In the most simplistic way, the research tells us that the less sunspot numbers on the Sun, the cooler the planet becomes. The higher the sunspot numbers, the warmer the planet gets.

More cooling and there exists a greater percentage of crop failures, as well as, higher fuel prices and food prices.

That would not be good for the global economy, as we may approach this small mini ice age.

Another amazing fact that is coming out of the research on the Sun deals with cosmic rays.

These powerful energetic atomic particles travel at nearly the speed of light.

During solar maximum, the Sun produces a large plasma bubble around the Earth, like a giant shield which helps to deflect these potentially harmful particles around and away from Earth.

During solar minimum, the protective shield is weakened and more of these particles can affect us here on Earth.

Can the increase in cosmic ray activity have long term effects on human DNA and plate tectonics? No one really knows for sure.

Some scientists have also theorized that the silica magma inside the Earth is excited by the increase in cosmic rays, possibly increasing the number of earthquakes and volcanic activity.

Some serious research seems to indicate that this is true.

Additional volcanic dust and aerosols in the atmosphere also add to changes in the temperatures on Earth.

Just note: The science on all is this is not complete and we have a long way to go to learn all about the true nature of our nearest star, the Sun.

Finally, the light that you see from the Sun is actually about 8 minutes old.

All this comes to you at the speed of light: 760,000,000 miles per hour on average.

Closer to home, here is a link to your March 2018 star chart.

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