Guest essay by David Archibald
This essay provides a series of graphs that describe the current state of the sun in context with its history.
Figure 1: Oulu Neutron Count 1964 – 2014
Cosmic rays are pushed away, to some extent, from the inner planets of the solar system by the Sun’s magnetic field carried in the solar wind.
Cosmic rays are mostly protons and alpha particles with some electrons and the nuclei of heavier elements. The highest energy cosmic rays have energies comparable to the energy of a 90 kmph baseball. As they hit oxygen and nitrogen atoms in the atmosphere, they cause a shower of neutrons. The neutron count from this source follows the solar cycle with about a one year lag, reflecting the time it takes for the solar wind to reach the heliopause. There is a connection with climate in that the atoms hit by the…
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