Stanford University

News Service


12/7/01 s

Mark Shwartz, News Service (650) 723-9296; e-mail:


Stanford scientists working with NASA will present significant discoveries about solar activity and the origin of sunspots at a press conference on Monday, Dec. 10, at 10 a.m. at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in Room 112 of the Moscone Convention Center, 747 Howard Street in San Francisco.

During the press conference, titled "Inside the Sun: What Goes On in a Giant Active Region and a Sunspot," researchers will describe how the technique of helioseismology was used to observe changing structures underlying the largest active region in the current solar cycle. The scientists will explain how the active region formed and grew in a manner that was contrary to their expectations. They also will explain the significance of their discovery that the area beneath a sunspot is spinning.

Participants in the press conference will include Alexander Kosovichev, senior research scientist at Stanford's W.W. Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory; Philip Scherrer, research professor of physics and principal investigator of NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory's Michelson Doppler Imager experiment; and Junwei Zhao, graduate student in physics.

AGU and NASA also will hold a tutorial for science writers on the causes of solar flares and other powerful solar activity on Monday at 9 a.m. in Room 131. For more information on both events, contact Harvey Leifert at


By Mark Shwartz

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