Latest Solar cycle Stories

2009-05-29 16:25:00

An international panel of experts led by NOAA and sponsored by NASA has released a new prediction for the next solar cycle. Solar Cycle 24 will peak, they say, in May 2013 with a below-average number of sunspots. "If our prediction is correct, Solar Cycle 24 will have a peak sunspot number of 90, the lowest of any cycle since 1928 when Solar Cycle 16 peaked at 78," says panel chairman Doug Biesecker of the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center. "Even a below-average cycle is capable of...

2009-05-28 08:10:00

A U.S.-sponsored study suggests scientists expect a below average number of sunspots between now and 2013, when Solar Cycle 24 will peak. An international panel of experts led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has released a new prediction for at least another year of mostly quiet conditions. If our prediction is correct, Solar Cycle 24 will have a peak sunspot number of 90, the lowest of any cycle since...

2009-05-08 15:05:00

The sun may soon begin moving into a more active period for sunspots, although forecasters predict it will be a fairly mild outbreak. But even one significant solar storm can wreak havoc on satellites and electrical systems here on Earth. A weak solar cycle refers to the number of storms, but it only takes one powerful storm to create chaos, according to Doug Biesecker, a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) space weather prediction division. Indeed, a...

2009-04-01 13:50:00

The sunspot cycle is behaving a little like the stock market. Just when you think it has hit bottom, it goes even lower. 2008 was a bear. There were no sunspots observed on 266 of the year's 366 days (73%). To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go all the way back to 1913, which had 311 spotless days: plot. Prompted by these numbers, some observers suggested that the solar cycle had hit bottom in 2008. Maybe not. Sunspot counts for 2009 have dropped even lower. As of March 31st,...

2008-11-07 12:55:00

After two-plus years of few sunspots, even fewer solar flares, and a generally eerie calm, the sun is finally showing signs of life. "I think solar minimum is behind us," says sunspot forecaster David Hathaway of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. His statement is prompted by an October flurry of sunspots. "Last month we counted five sunspot groups," he says. That may not sound like much, but in a year with record-low numbers of sunspots and long stretches of utter spotlessness, five is...

2008-10-02 15:25:00

Scientists using NASA's RHESSI spacecraft have measured the roundness of the sun with unprecedented precision. They find that it is not a perfect sphere. During years of high solar activity the sun develops a thin "cantaloupe skin" that significantly increases its apparent oblateness: the sun's equatorial radius becomes slightly larger than its polar radius. Their results appear the Oct. 2nd edition of Science Express. "The sun is the biggest and therefore smoothest object in the solar...

2008-10-01 06:50:00

Astronomers who count sunspots have announced that 2008 is now the "blankest year" of the Space Age. As of Sept. 27, 2008, the sun had been blank, i.e., had no visible sunspots, on 200 days of the year. To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go back to 1954, three years before the launch of Sputnik, when the sun was blank 241 times. "Sunspot counts are at a 50-year low," says solar physicist David Hathaway of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. "We're experiencing a deep minimum...

2008-09-23 15:05:00

Data from the Ulysses spacecraft, a joint NASA-European Space Agency mission, show the sun has reduced its output of solar wind to the lowest levels since accurate readings became available. The sun's current state could reduce the natural shielding that envelops our solar system. "The sun's million mile-per-hour solar wind inflates a protective bubble, or heliosphere, around the solar system. It influences how things work here on Earth and even out at the boundary of our solar system where...

2008-09-04 09:10:00

An unusual absence of sunspots has many experts and record-keepers baffled as they wait to see how much time it takes for them to return to the star's surface. Sunspots are the result of the Sun's magnetic field tearing "Ëœholes' into its surface. Meteorologists use the arrival and disappearance of sunspots to gauge how active solar cycles will be. When the sun is more active, several sunspots can appear on a daily basis. However, very few have been spotted in 2008. Experts had...

2008-07-12 17:50:00

Stop the presses! The sun is behaving normally. So says NASA solar physicist David Hathaway. "There have been some reports lately that Solar Minimum is lasting longer than it should. That's not true. The ongoing lull in sunspot number is well within historic norms for the solar cycle." This report, that there's nothing to report, is newsworthy because of a growing buzz in lay and academic circles that something is wrong with the sun. Sun Goes Longer Than Normal Without Producing Sunspots...

Latest Solar cycle Reference Libraries

How Solar Cycles Impact Our Weather Here On Earth
2013-01-13 09:10:34

Solar cycles: what are they and why should we care about them? Solar cycles are made up of what are known as solar minimums (min) and solar maximums (max). We refer to a solar min at the time when the sun is not active with many sunspots, while a solar max is just the opposite when we see a large increase in sunspot activity. So how long do solar cycles last? Typically they run on what is known as an 11 year cycle from the max to the min and then start over again anew. As of 2012 we...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Solar Maximum -- The Sun, a roiling ball of plasma, occupies its place in space approximately 93 million miles from Earth. Though it seems simple to inhabitants of this planet -- the Sun shines, giving light and heat -- the processes occurring in the Sun are so complex that many scientists devote their careers to just one aspect of solar activity. Changes in the activity of the Sun particularly engage solar scientists. Whether fluctuations in the solar magnetic field, expulsions of...

More Articles (2 articles) »
Word of the Day
  • The call or cry of a bird or other animal to its mate or its young.
'Call-note' is newer than 'bird-call,' which originally referred to 'an instrument for imitating the note of birds' but now also refers to 'the song or cry of a bird.'