Sun’s new solar cycle will be weakest since 1928May 11th, 2009 - 12:21 pm ICT by ANI
London, May 11 (ANI): A panel of international experts has predicted that the Sun’s new solar cycle, which is thought to have begun in December 2008, will be the weakest since 1928.
Solar activity waxes and wanes every 11 years.
Cycles can vary widely in intensity, and there is no foolproof way to predict how the sun will behave in any given cycle.
In 2007, an international panel of 12 experts split evenly over whether the coming cycle of activity, dubbed Cycle 24, would be stronger or weaker than average.
The group did agree the sun would probably hit the lowest point in its activity in March 2008 before ramping up to a new cycle that would reach its maximum in late 2011 or mid-2012.
But, the sun did not bear out those predictions.
Instead, it entered an unexpectedly long lull in activity with few new sunspots. It is thought to have reached its minimum in December 2008, and now seems to be slowly waking up.
According to a report in New Scientist, one such sign is two new active regions captured this week by the ultraviolet camera on one of NASA’s twin STEREO probes.
“There’s a lot of indicators that Cycle 24 is ready to burst out,” said panel chair Doug Biesecker of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado.
The panel now expects the sun’s activity will peak about a year late, in May 2013, when it will boast an average of 90 sunspots per day.
That is below average for solar cycles, making the coming peak the weakest since 1928, when an average of 78 sunspots was seen daily.
Sunspots are Earth-sized blotches that coincide with knotty magnetic fields. They are a common measure of solar activity.
The higher the number of sunspots, the higher the probability of a major storm that could wreak havoc on Earth.
A lower number of sunspots could mean space weather will be relatively mild in the coming years. (ANI)
- Distant star's sound waves have cycle similar to the Sun's - Aug 27, 2010
- Mystery over Sun's missing sunspots over 11-year cycle solved - Mar 03, 2011
- New sunspots may signal end of dry spell in solar activity - Oct 14, 2008
- Chilly winters linked to low solar activity - Aug 27, 2012
- Quiet Sun bombards earth with fierce solar streams - Sep 18, 2009
- Flotilla of spacecraft to give accurate space weather forecasts - Feb 13, 2011
- Solar activity in 2013 may register lowest peak since 1920s - Jun 13, 2009
- Changes in sun's conveyor belt could be behind prolonged solar cycle - Aug 04, 2010
- Physical mechanism behind 'sympathetic flares' on the Sun discovered - Dec 14, 2010
- Sun's 'killer flare' won't end earth in 2012: NASA - Nov 13, 2011
- Kolkata solar physicist wins prestigious US prize - Jun 23, 2012
- 33pc of Sun's blasts are 'sneak attacks' that occur without warning - Dec 08, 2010
- Intense solar activity in 2012 will trip mobile phones, GPS - Dec 12, 2010
- Earth's upper atmosphere 'shrinking' - Aug 27, 2010
- Solar storm gains strength - Mar 10, 2012
Tags: 11 years, blotches, boulder colorado, common measure, doug biesecker, international experts, lull, magnetic fields, nasa, national oceanic and atmospheric administration, new scientist, panel chair, solar activity, solar cycle, solar cycles, space weather prediction, sunspots, ultraviolet camera, waxes, weather prediction center