Solar activity in this cycle exceeded the predicted

The number of spots observed by scientists on the Sun is higher than predicted so far. Already, their number has reached 61. The three years separating us from the maximum of the cycle can turn into destructive solar storms.

Solar activity begins with an increase in the number of spots. Source:

Solar activity in 2022

Scientists are concerned about the number of sunspots and flares observed recently. They expected that the current cycle of activity of the luminary, the maximum of which will be in 2025, will be relatively calm. But since September 2020, the number of spots on the surface of our star has consistently exceeded all forecasts.

Solar cycles last 11 years. The last three of them, the activity of our luminary has been steadily decreasing. The 24th cycle, which ended in 2019, was generally the calmest in more than a hundred years of observations. Even at the maximum, which occurred in the early 2010s, the peak number of spots on the star’s disk was only 114 with an average value of 179.

Solar activity over the past hundred years. Source:

So, scientists predicted that in the current, 25th cycle, the number of spots will not exceed 115. However, already their number is 61. In addition, they are highly active, as evidenced by the AR2975 spot, which generated 18 powerful flashes in just a few days in March.

What will be the solar maximum

It may seem that 61 is very far from the predicted maximum of 115. But the fact is that the peak of solar activity is still three years away. And all this time the number of spots will grow. This is what we are sure of. 

Predicted and actual solar activity. Source:

We are also confident that an increase in the number will directly affect the number and power of flashes. And they can definitely cause magnetic storms of incredible destructive power on Earth. In the last few years, the number of satellites in orbit has been growing exponentially. And it is quite possible that soon such events as the de-orbiting of Starlink satellites in February of this year will be repeated.

But what we don’t know for sure is how powerful the solar maximum can really be. Very little is known about these processes. The picture of solar minima and maxima, repeated at intervals of 11 years, is calming. But the traces of an incredibly powerful flare that have been preserved in the Antarctic crisis for thousands of years suggest that we still don’t know something important. After all, it took place when, according to scientists, the activity of our luminary should have been minimal.

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