But far cooler than this sunspot is the coronal mass ejection that occurred between December 8 and 9. See the approximately ten-hour time-lapse video here. It’s not the most impressive one ever — more a solar burp — but I’m glad I wasn’t standing next to it. This particular burst of plasma may miss the earth entirely, which would be good news for your cell phone service.
The recent activity may mean the sun is shaking off its post-cycle-23 doldrums. And a good thing, too — the big lightbulb in the sky was getting increasingly difficult to ignore in discussions of our current global-cooling trend. Perhaps, for a while at least, we’ve seen the last of that journalistic trope, “It’s a good thing we have an underactive sun, or the warming would be much worse.” Of course, the other shoe never drops: Um, has an overactive sun had anything to do with previous warming trends?
When it comes to warming, the fault is not in our stars but in ourselves.