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The Winter 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist includes a variety of educational resources, ranging from astronomy to glaciers. Check out the other publications and classroom materials in our online store.

"S" Marks The Spot For Solar Activity
News story originally written on March 10, 1999

Scientists have observed a phenomenon that may help them forecast coronal mass ejections. CME's can disrupt communications and damage satellites as well as cause problems with electrical power grids.

"We have found a strong correlation between an S-shaped pattern on the Sun, called a sigmoid, and the likelihood that an ejection will occur from that region within days," said Dr. Alphonse Sterling of the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science in Japan. "Each sigmoid is like a loaded gun that we now know has a high probability of going off."

The sigmoids are most likely caused my twists in the solar magnetic field. Scientists believe that CME's get their energy from the Sun's magnetic field.

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