This is the height of the 11-year solar cycle, the so-called solar maximum. The face of the Sun should be pockmarked with sunspots, and cataclysmic explosions of X-rays and particles should be whizzing off every which way.
The sun’s magnetic field is expected to flip in the next three to four months and it could lead to changes in our climate, storms and disruption to satellites.
This solar event only happens once every 11 years and signals what physicists call the Solar Maximum – a time when the Sun’s solar activity is at its highest.
During this peak in activity the outbursts of solar energy can increase the amount of cosmic and UV rays coming towards Earth and this can interfere with radio communications, cause solar bursts of light – known as flares – and can affect the planet’s temperature.
The sun heats up our atmosphere, the atmosphere heats up our planet, no man made globam warming needed? It a regular occurrence for our Sun to do this …
Has our once fiery sun gone poof??? And when was the last tome in observable history has that happened?
hmmm — Little Ice Age … around 1600-1700 AD.
Official sun records here.
‘Something unexpected’ is happening on the Sun, Nasa has warned.
This year was supposed to be the year of ‘solar maximum,’ the peak of the 11-year sunspot cycle.
But as this image reveals, solar activity is relatively low.
Sunspot numbers are well below their values from 2011, and strong solar flares have been infrequent,’ the space agency says.
The image above shows the Earth-facing surface of the Sun on February 28, 2013, as observed by the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) on NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.
It observed just a few small sunspots on an otherwise clean face, which is usually riddled with many spots during peak solar activity.
Experts have been baffled by the apparent lack of activity – with many wondering if NASA simply got it wrong.
However, Solar physicist Dean Pesnell of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center believes he has a different explanation.
‘This is solar maximum,’ he says.
‘But it looks different from what we expected because it is double-peaked.’
‘The last two solar maxima, around 1989 and 2001, had not one but two peaks.’
Solar activity went up, dipped, then rose again, performing a mini-cycle that lasted about two years, he said.
The data from SWPC is in, and it is lethargic at best. Sunspot numbers took a hit, down to about 42, a delta of ~50 lower compared to the red prediction line.
10.7 cm and Ap took similar hits.
Imagine that, tiny variations in the sun, the huge nuclear furnace in the sky, can effect life on earth. WOW, who knew?
In the galactic scheme of things, the Sun is a remarkably constant star. While some stars exhibit dramatic pulsations, wildly yo-yoing in size and brightness, and sometimes even exploding, the luminosity of our own sun varies a measly 0.1% over the course of the 11-year solar cycle.
There is, however, a dawning realization among researchers that even these apparently tiny variations can have a significant effect on terrestrial climate. A new report issued by the National Research Council (NRC), “The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth’s Climate,” lays out some of the surprisingly complex ways that solar activity can make itself felt on our planet.
The full report, “The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth’s Climate,” is available from the National Academies Press at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13519.
Author: Dr. Tony Phillips | http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/08jan_sunclimate/
Yes my first real job was doing reasearch on the sun and solar wind. There I came clean.
The December data from NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center is in, and it looks more and more like the peak of solar cycle 24 has been reached, and that we are now past it. Even with documented problems like “sunspot count inflation” the sunspot count for December is quite low:
If you don’t know what sunspot inflation is, OK so they are now cooking the books with sunspots, which refuse to follow what the global warming gods want them to be. It’s another crock, to support the erroneous conclusion the 2012 was the warmest year ever.
Note the large difference between the prediction line in red, and the counts. There are other indications that our sun remains in a slump.
The 10.7cm solar radio flux seems to have peaked also. But I doubt most are interested in the technical data. It interests me, so I blog it.
Where did you think I went?
The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare on Thursday from a sunspot known as AR 1520, according to a NASA report. The solar flare began at 1:13 a.m. EDT and peaked at 1:58 a.m. The space agency notes that solar flares are “gigantic bursts of radiation” that are harmless to humans because they can’t pass through Earth’s atmosphere.
However, strong solar flares, like an X-class flare, can disrupt the atmosphere and cause radio blackouts. An X-class solar flare erupted from the sun on July 12, according to a Space.com report. The X-class solar flare erupted from the same region as last Thursday’s mid-level solar flare.
U.S. News & World Reports notes that the X-class solar flare was strong enough to black out NOAA radio. It was the sixth X-class flare of 2012. Citing NASA scientists Phillip Chamberlain, the article says that strong solar flares will continue through the beginning of 2014 as the sun enters the most active period of its eight-year solar cycle.
Radio blackouts can also occur with mid-level solar flares.