FOR KIDS: Not seeing sunspots

Scientists predict a delay for the sun’s next cycle

FOR KIDS: Not seeing sunspots

What a difference! These two images of the sun’s outer atmosphere, or corona, were taken about 20 months apart. The sun is quiet in the picture at left, taken in January 1997. In the picture at right, taken in November 1998, the sun is more active. When the sun’s activity increases, more sunspots become visible.SOHO (ESA & NASA)

The sun is vital for life on Earth: It determines our calendars, keeps us warm and delivers energy to plants. Not surprisingly, scientists keep a close eye on the sun, looking for signs of change. If the sun changes, there’s a good chance we’ll feel the effects on Earth.

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