The Sun and Solar Wind

Internet Resources

A good Primer on solar features and disturbances from the Space Weather Prediction Center
Living with a Star educational website
More detailed info on the Sun and solar disturbances from Windows to the Universe
PBS Nova program Secrets of the Sun (April 25, 2012)
Section #18 on the solar wind and IMF in The Exploration of Earth's Magnetosphere
(Also has sections #16 & #17 on the Sun and corona)
A glossary and several interesting pages on solar activity, solar cycles and flares
Try looking at the Sun in a different light: Solar Vision
Current solar images
Solar Flare 10/28/2003

Typical solar wind properties
Current solar wind and IMF conditions. Some explanatory text for these "dials" and other solar wind parameters
Solar wind data plotted for the last 7 days. Data from the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) spacecraft
Learn about how particles move from the Sun to Earth with the Wrath of Ra

Homes pages for other Sun-observing spacecraft of interest: Ulysses, SOHO (Solar & Heliospheric Observatory) and Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).
NASA's Heliophysics website has images as well as links to other space missions studying the sun and magnetosphere

Basics outline

Historical outline - sunspots and other solar features

4th c. BCPossible description of sunspots in Chinese records
325 BCTheophrastus notes spots on the Sun
165 BCChinese begin sporadic record of sunspot observations
Dec 22, 968Leo Diaconus observes solar corona during eclipse
May 1, 1185Possible description of solar prominence during eclipse in Russian Chronicle of Novgorod
1607Johannes Kepler misinterprets a sunspot as the passage of Mercury across the face of the Sun
1610Galileo and others observe sunspots
1645-1715Maunder minimum
1843Samuel Heinrich Schwabe identifies sunspot cycle
1848Rudolf Wolf devises method to quantify sunspot activity
Sept 1, 1859Richard Carrington observes solar flare
July 18, 1860Drawing of solar corona during eclipse shows a coronal mass ejection
1861F.G.W. Spörer discovers sunspot latitude pattern during sunspot cycle (The Butterfly Diagram)
1863Carrington discovers differential solar rotation
1892George Hale observes flares by viewing only red light
1893Edward Maunder identifies period of infrequent sunspots "The Maunder Minimum"
1908Hale shows sunspots are associated with intense magnetic fields
1925Hale and Nicholson identify magnetic cycle
1942Bengt Edlen finds the corona has high temperatures
1961H. Babcock proposes theory of magnetic coiling for sunspot formation
196622-year solar magnetic cycle (double solar cycle) identified by Chernosky
1973Coronal holes and coronal mass ejections discovered with X-ray instruments aboard Skylab
Apr 2000Last solar maximum
Dec 2008Last solar minimum (Progression of the current cycle)

Historical outline - solar wind and interplanetary medium

c. 600Chinese astromoners attribute pointing away of comet tails to the Sun's "life force" chi
1903Kristian Birkeland proposes stream of electrons from Sun causes auroras
1919Frederick Lindemann suggests particles of both polarities, protons as well as electrons, come from the Sun
Feb 28, 1942S. E. Forbush detects Ground Level Enhancement due to energetic protons associated with a solar flare
1943Cuno Hoffmeister revives idea of "solar corpuscular radiation"
1951Ludwig Biermann analyzes comet ion tail deflection to support existence of corpuscular radiation
1958Eugene Parker provides theory for corpuscular radiation; calls it the solar wind
1959Konstantin Gringauz with data from Lunik 2 probe finds evidence for solar wind
1962Mariner 2 probe shows solar wind is a permanent feature; finds 27-day intervals in variations
1963Interplanetary Magnetic Field identified