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Sun Going to Sleep

Chris Colclough
Chris Colclough

As radio amateurs we all have an interest in what happens on the Sun. Whether we are interested in DXing, Contesting, or just chatting with friends it will affect all our contacts at some point. On HF the Sun Spots and Solar Indexes determine Sunspot Llanferranwhether we can make long distance (DX) contacts on the higher bands, and on the lower band the suns radiation causes absorption in the layers in the upper atmosphere so the signals are from much more local sources.

Even on the VHF/UHF bands the sun plays it's part with how far our transmitted signals travel. A Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) will send out magnetic particles that cause the Aurora's at the poles, we can then use these to bounce our signals and achieve greater distances then on a direct sky path - unless the sun has caused some form of ducting up in the upper atmosphere which - on certain bands - allow the signals to travel thousands of miles.

The BBC's Newsnight programme had a very interesting article on the sun and the possibility of us being in a Maunder Minimum period which is, to put it simply, when the "Sun goes to sleep". Just click on the highlighted words to get to the article.

Lets hope the science is wrong, and the sun is just having a quick power nap to revive itself.