A Rather Quiet Solar Maximum … For Now

by Nancy Atkinson on March 7, 2013

2013 was supposed to be the year of Solar Max, the peak of the 11-year sunspot cycle. But so far, solar activity has been fairly low, with sunspot numbers well below expectations as well as infrequent solar flares.

Back in 2008, the NOAA/NASA Solar Cycle Prediction Panel, said that due to the extrememly deep and quite solar minimum going on at that time, they anticipated Solar Cycle 24 – our current cycle – to be below average in intensity. They’ve certainly been right about that.

In this video, solar physicist Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center says that this solar max looks different from what we expected because it may end up being “double peaked.”

Recent sunspot counts fall short of predictions. Credit: Dr. Tony Philips & NOAA/SWPC.

Recent sunspot counts fall short of predictions. Credit: Dr. Tony Philips & NOAA/SWPC.

This video shows the low amount of sunspots so far in 2013:

Read more at Science@NASA
.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: