Solar Science

A blog of solar physics

Hathaway announces the bleeding obvious

with 6 comments

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.

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Written by John A

November 13, 2008 at 11:16 am

Posted in Solar Cycle 24

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6 Responses

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  1. Ya know Dave, I’ll go out on a limb here and bet you know not whereof you speak: Minimum falls in December or thereafter.

    Gary Gulrud

    December 9, 2008 at 6:21 pm

  2. Re: “…ramping up activity now…” and “…real increase…” statements, I’d almost die laughing if it wasn’t so pitiful. For Pete’s sake, the A index is running at zero on a lot of days. The Sun’s practically on life-support. I can’t wait to see solar maximum with this “surge”.

    Ron Mc

    December 14, 2008 at 7:07 pm

  3. Hush now, we’re at the bleeding edge of solar physics and all you can do is carp…

    So the solar cycle is having a little difficulty with the starter motor and might require a push.

    John A

    January 5, 2009 at 8:46 am

  4. It is now January the 9th, 2009 (or the 8th if you’re in the USA). Before two weeks are up the sunspots are going to kick in. Things will seem almost normal for a while, perhaps some months or even a couple of years, but then things are going to get really weird. I am expecting to see the biggest solar flare witnessed, at least in 100’s of years and some very strange behaviour in the sun, but will not yet comment on why – just a theory.

    Bush-Hat Man

    January 8, 2009 at 11:39 pm

  5. errm…. Two weeks are more than up, Mr Bush-Hat Man. It is still very quiet…..

    Anyone got the paddles charged for a solar Resusc.?

    Mock Tudor

    January 31, 2009 at 6:44 pm

  6. Re#4 It’s now 12 days without a single sunspot. You might want to polish that crystal ball….


    February 1, 2009 at 2:20 am

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