Sunspots and Stranded Whales: A Bizarre Correlation

Sunspots and Stranded Whales: A Bizarre Correlation

by Joshua Sokol, The New York Times –

A collaboration between biologists and an astronomer sought to add evidence to the idea that whale migration is affected by solar weather.

As an astronomer at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium, Lucianne Walkowicz usually has to stretch to connect the peculiarities of space physics with things that people experience on Earth.

Then came the email about whales.

Sönke Johnsen, a biologist at Duke University, told Dr. Walkowicz that his team had stumbled upon a bizarre correlation: When the surface of the sun was pocked with dark sunspots, an indicator of solar storms, gray whales and other cetacean species seemed more likely to strand themselves on beaches. The team just needed an astronomer’s help wrangling the data.

Read the full article here…

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