Stories tagged sunspot cycle

Aug
26
2006

Sunspot numbers by year: Photo source GlobalWarmingArt
Sunspot numbers by year: Photo source GlobalWarmingArt

Magnetic reversal in sunspot 905 signals new sunspot cycle.

Sunspots go through an eleven year cycle. When one solar cycle gives way to another--sunspots reverse polarity. For the second time in a month, a backward sunspot has appeared. The first backward spot, sighted on July 31st, was tiny and fleeting. The latest, however, is big and sturdy, bipolar sunspot 905.

The onset of Solar Cycle 24 is big news, because the cycle is expected to be intense, but don't expect any big storms right away. Solar cycles take years to ramp up to full power. The next Solar Max is expected in 2010.SpaceWeather

Most intense solar maximum in fifty years is forcast.

The prediction comes from a team led by Mausumi Dikpati of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

"The next sunspot cycle will be 30% to 50% stronger than the previous one," she says.

If correct, the years ahead could produce a burst of solar activity second only to the historic Solar Max of 1958. During the intense solarspot activity of 1958 people knew something big was happening. Northern Lights were sighted three times in Mexico. A similar maximum now would be noticed by its effect on cell phones, GPS, weather satellites and many other modern technologies.
Solar physicist David Hathaway of the National Space Science & Technology Center (NSSTC) explains that a convection current "conveyor belt" cycles magnetic knots from the core of the sun up to the surface, then back toward the core again. The cycle varys from 30 to 50 years. If it is flowing fast we will get more sunspots appearing. [email protected]