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Solar rotation and the sunspot cycle
Hathaway, David H.; Wilson, Robert M.
AA(NASA, Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL), AB(NASA, Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 357, July 1, 1990, p. 271-274. (ApJ Homepage)
Publication Date:
Solar Physics
NASA/STI Keywords:
Solar Activity, Solar Rotation, Sunspot Cycle, Angular Velocity, Velocity Distribution
Bibliographic Code:


Reexamination of the published sunspot rotation rates from Mount Wilson for the period from 1921 to 1982 suggests that the sun rotates more rapidly when there are fewer sunspots. This behavior is seen over the course of each cycle with the most rapid rotation usually observed at sunspot minimum. It is also seen in hemispheric differences with the southern hemisphere, having fewer spots, rotating more rapidly than the northern hemisphere. Furthermore, the rotation rate averaged over each cycle also shows that the sun rotates more rapidly during cycles with fewer sunspots and less sunspots area. This inverse correlation between sunspot area and rotation rate suggests that during the Maunder minimum the sun may have rotated slightly faster than is observed today.

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