Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Sluggish Solar Cycle 24

sunspot by Mark Townley
sunspot, a photo by Mark Townley on Flickr.

Latest data released by NOAA shows solar cycle 24 really isn't living up to expectations. Cycle 24 was always predicted to be less intense than cycle 23, but this november batch of data shows if anything since early 2012 activity has actually been falling off. To date there is very little on the near side of our star and the STEREO spacecraft shows there is very little on the far side of the sun. So, what happens from here? Short of an upturn in activity it would appear that this current solar cycle has peaked early and a steady decline is now in effect. However, sunspot numbers are notoriouslly variable and could show an increase as we head into 2013. Really all we can do is monitor things and see what happens!