Hathaway announces the bleeding obvious
NASA’s David Hathaway has announced, again, that Solar Cycle 24 may have begun:
After more than two years of very low sunspot activity and hardly any flares, the sun is ramping up activity now.
The sun’s activity ebbs and flows on a roughly 11-year cycle. It can range from very quiet to violent space storms that knock out power grids on Earth and disrupt radio and satellite communications. The last peak was in 2000, and scientists have in recent months figured the low point was occurring. Fresh sunspots during October suggest the corner has been turned.
“I think solar minimum is behind us,” said David Hathaway of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. “Last month we counted five sunspot groups.” he says.
Sunspots are cool areas on the solar surface where magnetic energy is bottled up. While five groups is not extraordinary, it is significant in comparison to the months of virtually no spots.
“This represents a real increase in solar activity,” Hathaway said in a statement today.
Your tax money at work. At least he won’t have to keep stretching out the start of SC24 every few months.