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Science Briefing

Wild winds in sun's quiet phase

September 19, 2009|Times Staff and Wire Reports

The sun can lash the Earth with powerful winds that can disrupt communications, aviation and power lines even when it is in the quiet phase of its 11-year solar cycle, U.S. scientists report.

The Earth was bombarded with intense solar winds last year despite an unusually quiet phase for the sun, said the study, published in the latest issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. And the prevalence of high-speed streams during the solar minimum in 2008 appeared to be related to the sun's current structure.

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