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Effendi
2006-Aug-02, 03:59 PM
I have read a few things about the precession of equinoxes and sun's activity recently. Then I found claims that those things are connected. I've seen people saying something like: "The Earth passes the galaxy plane two times during its (zirka) 26,000 years precession cycle and this process is accompanied by sun's superactivity".
I don't really see how the position of solar system in the galaxy can influence the sun, but maybe I'm wrong. Then I found an interesting article from Max Planck Society:
http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/printer_most_active_sun_8000_years.html

I wonder why is the sun more and more active, especially knowing the newest predictions for the next sunspot cycle. This is going to be 30-50% stronger than the last one, and the last one produced in 2003 probably the biggest sun flare ever recorded X40+. It makes me think what can we expect in the following years. I've read an article about a SpaceWeather meeting where Dr Sten Odenwald discussed the possible super solar storm on 2011, 2012 or 2013. He estimated the loss of satellites and such. But then accidentally I happened to come on a forum where people were absolutely cartain that the sun flares will reach the Earth's core and result in some tragic geomagnetic events like sudden freezing - killing 2/3 of population. Their main argument seemed to be flash frozen mammoths. I guess this is not really a strong one - according to my knowledge all the mammoths showed signs of decay, so they must have died before freezing. It is a common misconception from what I know.
1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mammoths
2) From Skeptical Inquirer:

Claims that the mammoths were quick-frozen have been propounded for decades and were disputed by Zimmerman and Tedford as long ago as the mid-1970s (1976: 183): "Histologic examination of rehydrated tissue samples from late Pleistocene Alaskan mammal mummies demonstrates that the preservative effect of freezing and drying extends to remains 15,000 to 25,000 years old. Some muscle and liver retained identifiable histologic structures. Most tissues were completely disintegrated and partly replaced by masses of bacteria, an indication of considerable post-mortem decay before the remains were entombed beneath the permafrost zone."

These points were taken up and elaborated upon further by Kurten (1986: 51-2): "Various legends exist about frozen mammoths. It has been said, for instance, that the scientists who excavated the Beresovka mammoth, discovered in the year 1900, enjoyed a banquet on mammoth steak. What really appears to have happened (as I was told by Professor Anatol Heinz) is that one of them made a heroic attempt to take a bite out of the 40,000 year old meat but was unable to keep it down, in spite of a generous use of spices… The facts are not hard to find. In 1902, Otto Herz, a zoologist at the Imperial Academy of Sciences in St. Pietersburg published in German an account of the expedition to the Beresovka River which he had led the year before, with the purpose of salvaging the mammoth carcass that had been discovered in 1900... The point here is this: Herz definitely states that it was only the superficial part of the cadaver that had been preserved. The internal organs had rotted away before the animal had become frozen."

“Blue-babe”, a bison who perished 36,000 B.P., was discovered with its chest cavity torn open by predators, which allowed its body to be quick-frozen. If it had been catastrophically frozen, it would have been too hard to tear open and be feasted upon. Second, its predators should have been quick-frozen by the same catastrophe that overcame their feast.

The size of the mammoths was an adaptive advantage to the cold environment in which they lived, and not to the warm environment postulated by Hancock. Low surface-to-body ratios help to reduce passive heat loss through the skin. They had small ears and trunks by comparison with their African elephant cousins, who use their large ears and trunks to dissipate the heat. The mammoth’s body was cold-adapted in other ways. They had a 10cm thick undercoat, 50cm long body hairs and a 10cm layer of white insulative fat under the skin. The woolly rhinoceros, Coelodonta antiquitatis, also had a shaggy coat and a layer of extra fat underneath its skin. Mummified remains of these rhinos have also been found in the permafrost.

Another argument of those doomsayers was that the Earth has become hotter inside, I mean that some underground water springs or something have become warmer in their lifetimes. From what I remember they also gave other planets emerging from ice age as an argument.

My concerns boil down to the question: should we be afraid of super solar storms and geomagnetic catastrophes? Or is it another unproven misconception. I have found no respected source that said the sun flares can affect Earth's core, trigger an ice age and kill people. I only heard about a single doomsayer attending some radio shows, talking about a sun killer shot or something, but I don't think he should be taken seriously. What is your view?

Ken G
2006-Aug-02, 04:09 PM
No, we should not be afraid of any of those things, the more extreme ones are utter bunk. The issue of a correlation between the 26,000 year precession and solar storms is of passing interest only, the processes that cause the 26,000 year precession are well understand and have no influence at all on the Sun. Thus any correlation is entirely coincidental, and note that pure coincidence should always be the first hypothesis that must be falsified for any type of correlation.

astromark
2006-Aug-02, 07:41 PM
It might be realistic to conclude that as the solar system gets nearer the galactic plain the effect on the solar mass from the forces of gravity may trigger extra solar activity. We need more research. Passing through the galactic plain might change nothing at all. Remembering that these things happen so slowly. That our sun does not get near anything.

astromark
2006-Aug-02, 07:41 PM
It might be realistic to conclude that as the solar system gets nearer the galactic plain the effect on the solar mass from the forces of gravity may trigger extra solar activity. We need more research. Passing through the galactic plain might change nothing at all. Remembering that these things happen so slowly. That our sun does not get near anything.

astromark
2006-Aug-02, 07:46 PM
# * @ ! Delete. Why is this not working?

Ken G
2006-Aug-02, 08:29 PM
It might be realistic to conclude that as the solar system gets nearer the galactic plain the effect on the solar mass from the forces of gravity may trigger extra solar activity.
No, that is simply not plausible. Gravitational effects are too well understood for that, even if solar activity is not. There might also be some other things going on in the galactic plane, but it really stretches credibility that this is affecting the Sun. It is a much more reasonable conclusion that the data is being over-interpreted.
Passing through the galactic plain might change nothing at all.
That's where my money is.

Effendi
2006-Aug-02, 08:49 PM
Regarding the fact that Earth's magnetic field has weakened 10 - 15% in 150 years, can it be true that more protons from sun flares get to the core and warm up the planet? I've also seen such claims. No doubt it is better than sun flares causing geomagnetic doom.

Ken G
2006-Aug-02, 10:25 PM
It's about the same, in terms of level of total absurdity. If it's a joke, it's pretty funny, and if it's serious, it's pretty sad.

Effendi
2006-Aug-02, 11:27 PM
I didn't say that, I am a moron, literally, I just wrote what I've seen among some comments on various sites.
So let me ask again, is it pseudoscience and unproven misconception that sun storms (even extreme ones) can affect the Earth's outer liquid core (or whatever) apart from normally affecting magnetosphere?

Ken G
2006-Aug-03, 02:08 AM
I know you didn't say it, the types who would say that wouldn't have the curiosity to ask here, they don't really want to know the truth. But you do, so I'll tell you. The question you are asking is the same as asking if you can cook a frozen turkey by breathing on it.

astromark
2006-Aug-03, 05:32 AM
Thanks folks, So the answer is no. Solar activity does not heat the Earth. It might play with our upper atmosphere. It might cause some spectacular Aurora events. It could even disrupt weather patterns. ( Some thing else to blame ). and it might disrupt some communication satellites. Fsst ! Zap ! fried.
But generally No. We can not blame the sun for messing up my barbecue planes.

Effendi
2006-Aug-03, 06:11 AM
Yes, thanks folks. No real scientist ever said that sun storms can do anything lethal to people on the ground or penetrate the surface to the core. I think only neutrinos continually get to the core, but it doesn't matter for us, does it? This scenario that I've described is more like sort of "The Core 2" or 3 film.

AGN Fuel
2006-Aug-03, 07:15 AM
Yes, thanks folks. No real scientist ever said that sun storms can do anything lethal to people on the ground or penetrate the surface to the core. I think only neutrinos continually get to the core, but it doesn't matter for us, does it? This scenario that I've described is more like sort of "The Core 2" or 3 film.

I was just about to speculate that the people that you quoted may have seen "The Core" and thought it was a documentary.

Gaah! It scares me that I can even think up something that disturbing.....

Tobin Dax
2006-Aug-03, 08:17 AM
Solar activity does not heat the Earth.
Not it's core, but it might heat the atmosphere and affect the weather. There appears to be a correlation between solar activity and average temperature. A few centuries ago, there was a decrease of solar activity for a number of decades, and simultaneously the average temperature was lower than normal.

Jens
2006-Aug-03, 08:34 AM
The question you are asking is the same as asking if you can cook a frozen turkey by breathing on it.

I guess the answer to that would be no unless your name happens to be "Puff"! :D

Tobin Dax
2006-Aug-03, 09:07 AM
I guess the answer to that would be no unless your name happens to be "Puff"! :D
Or if you're in love with a Donkey. :)

Effendi
2006-Aug-03, 02:35 PM
Not it's core, but it might heat the atmosphere and affect the weather. There appears to be a correlation between solar activity and average temperature. A few centuries ago, there was a decrease of solar activity for a number of decades, and simultaneously the average temperature was lower than normal.

At the time of the Little Ice Age, it is said that almost no sunspots had been seen. Is this what you mean? Anyway, in the following years the sun is going to be very active, the sunspot cycle is predicted to come close to some 100 years maximum in 50's, if I remember correctly. I think it will affect weather and climate a bit.
But linking climate change, Younger Dryas and ice ages solely to sun flares, like those groups I mentioned do, is just madness, isn't it?

Ken G
2006-Aug-03, 03:44 PM
Yes, it's lazy thinking. Let's not worry about all the complicated effects, let's just pretend it's all sunspots. Also, they forget that correlations do not establish cause and effect. We can probably rule out that climate on Earth causes sunspots (though I don't know how they rule that out), but this still does not mean that solar flares affect climate. More likely, there is some other cause that is associated with solar activity-- an increase in the brightness of the Sun when activity exposes deeper hotter layers in the Sun's surface (called "plages"). Thus the flare itself is not the cause, but it is a symptom of a deeper cause that can affect weather on Earth. It's a bit like saying that lightning causes heavy rains by virture of their correlation. The flare itself only affects very high up in the atmosphere where the density is very low and the magnetic field is weak, though it can lead to electrical surges on Earth near the poles.