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Photo Gallery | Photographer, Takashi Iwamoto / Video / Photography | Africa

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The sun with no sunspots! What kind of influence does it have on the earth?

We will take up the activities of the sun around us.


The general appearance is that the sun has sunspots.

It is the sunspots that occur on the surface of the sun that show the changes in the activity status.

June 21, 2020, the sun with no sunspots, just before the end of the solar eclipse

During the solar eclipse during this time, I took a picture of the surface of the sun for the first time in a while.

The photo above, just before the end of the solar eclipse, just below, a little to the left, a little sun is missing.

I was surprised to see the photo of the sun after a long time.

I can't find any black spots on the surface!

There are always one or two sunspots on the surface of the sun that I'm used to seeing.

I can't see it at all.

When I looked it up, it seems that it is not unusual to see no sunspots.

Solar activity changes its activity approximately every 11 years.

Now (2020) is the time when the activity of the cycle is the weakest. Normally, at the end of the active period, it seems normal for the next cycle of sunspots to begin to occur at high latitudes.


Observation of sunspots has been continued since the early invention of the telescope in the 1600s. What I found was the periodic change in solar activity.

The number of sunspots on the surface of the sun is increasing or decreasing.

Fewer sunspots can affect the climate, lowering the temperature of the earth, and suffering from poor crops due to cold weather and long rains.

Even if we do not know the details, many years of observations have revealed the causal relationship between sunspots and the Earth's climate.

However, even if the number of sunspots decreases, the energy radiated from the sun will be weakened by only about 0.1%.

Although it has the name of sunspot, it is not actually black, and it looks like a dark spot on the surface of the sun because the temperature is slightly lower than the surrounding area.

Strong lines of magnetic force extend from the position of the sunspot.

Sunspots are created by the influence of the strong lines of magnetic force.

When the solar activity becomes active, the activity of the magnetic field lines also becomes active, and many sunspots of various sizes appear.

The lines of magnetic force are sometimes torn off due to the rotation of the sun, and at the same time, a large number of particles are scattered along with the lines of magnetic force to the distant universe.

The solar wind is a particle that is released into space while being influenced by these lines of magnetic force.

Cosmic rays, on the other hand, are particles that fly into outer space from all directions at high speed.

The speed is extraordinarily high compared to the solar wind, and it has enormous energy.

One of the benefits of the solar wind is that it suppresses the invasion of cosmic rays.

The earth is like being protected from cosmic rays by the solar wind emitted from this sun.

The solar wind sometimes damages electronic devices, but the benefits are also considerable.

Clouds increase as solar activity weakens

As the activity of the sun weakens and the number of sunspots decreases, more powerful cosmic rays will fall on the earth.

When cosmic rays with enormous energy hit the earth's atmosphere, a large amount of fine particles are generated in a chain reaction.

It is said that with such fine particles as the core, water vapor becomes water droplets, clouds increase, rain increases, and sunshine hours become shorter.

Water vapor in the air turns into water droplets, and some kind of particles floating in the air are needed to become clouds.

Cosmic rays coming from space generate a large amount of such fine particles in the atmosphere.

Periodic changes in the sun

Now, I have just started counting the changes in sunspot activity and finished the 24th activity.

And it is time to wait for the 25th activity to start.

(Actually, it entered the 25th cycle in December 2019)

It seems that the cycle is also extended during the active period when there are few sunspots, and recently the cycle is increasing due to this tendency.

The last peak was around 2014

It is decided that the day when the number of sunspots increases is the peak.

February 2, 2014 sun

The photo above is the sun taken on February 2, 2014, just past the peak of the 24th cycle.

The number of black dots at the previous peak did not increase as much as I expected.

Since the number of sunspots is small and the activity cycle is long, there is no doubt that the activity of the sun has weakened recently.

This 11-year activity cycle also fluctuates in a large cycle of around 100 years.

Now, the big fluctuation cycle seems to overlap with the weak period.

Phenomenon 400 years ago when almost no sunspots were seen

In 1610, Galileo began astronomical observations with a telescope, and the observation of sunspots began around that time.

The period when sunspots were rarely observed, which occurred early after such observations, is called the "Maunder Minimum".

At that time, it was taken for granted that there were no sunspots or sunspots that had just begun to be observed.

The Maunder Minimum is the 70-year period from 1645 to 1715, when almost no sunspots were observed.

During that period, the Thames River in London froze, frost in Japan in the summer, and long rains continued.

As I mentioned earlier, even if the solar activity weakens, the energy emitted from the sun changes by only about 0.1 percent.

The cause may be different from the energy emitted from the sun.

As before, when the magnetic field of the sun weakens, the sunspots decrease and the solar wind emitted into space weakens. And a large amount of cosmic rays, which are much stronger than the solar wind, will be poured into the earth.

The energy of cosmic rays is much stronger than the solar wind.

The flying particles are not so different from the solar wind, but the speed is extremely fast.

While the solar wind is about 500 kilometers per second, some cosmic rays have energy that reaches tens of percent of the speed of light, or more than 100,000 kilometers per second.

This is not the difference in energy between the solar wind 500 and the cosmic ray 10,0000, because the energy is proportional to the square of the speed.

When converted to money in an easy-to-understand manner

If the solar wind is 500 yen, cosmic rays are 20,000,000 yen, and some are billions of yen.

The solar wind is full of standing-eating Tsukimi tempura soba, while cosmic rays are as different as a luxury sports car.

There is that much difference.

This is a calculation in Newtonian mechanics.

When calculated by the theory of relativity, cosmic rays are close to the speed of light, so the difference is even greater. This is because the mass increases as the speed of light approaches.

It is said that there are also ultra-high-energy cosmic rays with ridiculous energy that is hundreds or thousands of times higher than those created by humans with giant accelerators.

It is a particle that is very close to the speed of light.

Occasionally, collisions of such high-energy particles occur in the upper atmosphere.

The sources of such high-energy cosmic rays are thought to be supernova explosions and collisions between black holes.

What happens when such high-energy cosmic rays hit the Earth's atmosphere?

When an ultra-high energy cosmic ray collides with the atmosphere, it destroys the molecules and atoms of the atmosphere that it collides with, and the large amount of scattered elementary particles also destroys the next atom in the atmosphere one after another.

By repeating such a thing, a large amount of ion particles will be produced from the upper atmosphere to the ground in a rat-like manner until the energy is sufficiently weakened.

With this large amount of generated ion particles as the nucleus, water vapor turns into water droplets, creating clouds that would not have originally been generated.

It is believed that such a large number of clouds will affect the climate and cause cold damage and famine.

Muons found on the ground (Tamarokuto Science Center)

When cosmic rays collide with the atmosphere, atmospheric components are destroyed by ions. Muons generated at that time are observed on the ground.

A device that allows muons to be seen with light, which is observed on the ground, is on display at the Tamarokuto Science Center, located in Nishitokyo City, Tokyo.

Muons generated by cosmic rays colliding with the atmosphere in the sky and destroying all the atoms of the atmospheric components in a chain reaction.

Muons that finally jump to the ground can be seen as light with this observation device.

I made a GIF image of muons that jump into the ground. (Photographed in 2017)

Muons with purple light coming to the ground.

Sunspot on February 2, 2014, enlarged photo above

A tremendous amount of time before energy is released

All life on earth is maintained only when the energy from the sun is poured.

The energy that the sun shines on the earth in just 30 minutes is equivalent to all the energy consumed by humankind from the latter half of the 20th century to the present.

The source of such energy, the history of observing the sun, and the 400-year observation period that seems to be long for humans.

For the 4.6 billion-year-old sun, who was born and raised with the earth, such a 400-year history is a short period that does not even hit the moment.

The source of all the energy emitted by the sun is the fusion reaction that takes place in the center of the sun.

It is said that the energy generated in the center of the sun takes 500,000 or 1 million years to reach the surface of the sun.

That is, the energy that the earth is currently receiving is generated by a nuclear fusion reaction in the center of the sun when human beings were in the primitive age.

Let's assume that the period until solar energy is released is 1 million years, and replace it with a human with a lifespan of 100 years.

The 400-year period that human beings have been observing the sun is only two weeks.

It is reminded that the time scale of the flowing time is too different between celestial bodies and creatures on the earth.

The sun, a celestial body that is familiar but still full of mysteries

The sun is still unknown.

The rotation speed is faster at low latitudes and slower at higher latitudes.

The detailed cause of the magnetic field exchange between the north and south poles and the active cycle in the 11-year cycle is also unknown.

Despite the facts that are commonly observed, there are still many unknown causes.

Using a supercomputer, etc., it has become possible to simulate solar activity with finer precision, and it seems that the observation results and predicted values ​​have roughly matched.

There will be new discoveries about the mysterious sun in the future.

What is now taken for granted may be completely overturned.

It is not always the case that the sun will not start its 25th active period, and sunspots will not appear as in the "Maunder Minimum".

From past observations, we can infer what will happen in the future, as we have done so far, but the only thing we know for sure is "I don't know what will happen in the future!".

It has also become clear that periods of weak solar activity, such as the Maunder Minimum, occur every 100-300 years, just as the sun pulsates.

What does that mean? What will happen now, 400 years later?

If there is only a 400-year observation period, it will be far in the future that the details of the phenomena that occur in the 400-year cycle will be known.

Whether it's the sun or the climate of the earth, the reality is that we still don't know.


At the end

I wish humanity could be more honest and humble with respect to science.

It feels too twisted because of recent science, too business.

That should be it.

It is said that 5 trillion yen is invested every year and 13.7 billion yen is invested every day in Japan as a measure against global warming.

That's why there are people who are making money in Japan.

It seems that science is not straightforward.

It costs money to research anything, and there may be research with results.

It can't be helped because it's capitalism!

Capitalism is like crossing borders, transcending religions, and worshiping money!

Money is just a promise of humankind from the side, like a ghost.

If something like the Maunder Minimum 400 years ago happens, the cost of this huge amount of global warming countermeasures will be changed to the cost of cooling countermeasures without realizing it. There may be.

In foreign countries, the term Global Warming has changed, and recently it has changed to Global Weather Change.

Latest Sun Image, June 29, 2020

I took a picture of the sun on June 29, 2020 in Kenya time (+ 3GMT), but I haven't seen any signs of sunspots yet.

It would be difficult if it didn't come out like this.


Related article

  • Solar eclipse, the whole story of the summer solstice taken from Nairobi

  • Let's see how to shoot the sun (telephoto bias) and when sunspots appear!

  • Sunspots that appeared after a long time

  • Other Perseids meteor showers being seen, and the sun with sunspots disappearing again

  • Contrary to expectations, solar activity is active!

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