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Stormy Star



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Storm Season Approaches
Image by SOHO, ESA and NASA

The sun never sets for the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), which constantly watches our local star from space. SOHO's Extreme-ultraviolet Imaging Telescope records the sun's high-energy wavelengths that are blocked by Earth's atmosphere. Blue is the false color given to this image, which is recorded in black and white. The lighter areas are regions where the sun is most magnetically active. The sun's magnetic activity (and number of sunspots) peaks about every 11 years on average. Here, in November 1998, the cycle is about two years away from that peak, called the solar max. At that time, magnetic activity in both hemispheres will have moved closer to the Equator and become even more tumultuous, generating storms that that can impact our lives on Earth.





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