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Scientists solve sunspots disappearance mystery

03-04-2011 14:18 BJT

BEIJING, March 4 (Xinhuanet) -- A team of U.S. researchers have found the answer to why sunspots disappeared during 2008-2009, according to an article published in "Nature" on Thursday.

The researchers used the space telescope to gather the information on sunspots, solar flares and magnetic fields at north and south poles of the sun, which helped the computer to build a model and aided researchers simulate the activities on sun’s surface over 2,000 years.

After an analysis on the computer model, the researchers concluded the disappearance of sunspots was tightly linked with the unusually weak magnetic fields on the sun.

This finding not only solved a mystery that trapped astrophysicists worldwide for more than two centuries, but also opened the way for them to predict the solar activity by examining the sun’s polar fields, the researchers noted.

"Understanding sunspots is important because solar activities influence space weather, which affects technology in space and on the earth," Montana State University solar physicist Piet Martens, one of the researchers, said in a statement.

The better predicting ability of solar activities could help protect astronauts, long-range pilots and communication systems from dangerous cosmic radiations.

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: Xinhua

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