Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .


Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















SOLAR SCIENCE
Sun's Magnetic Fields Best at Forecasting Solar Cycle Peaks
by Aleida K. Higginson for AGU News
Washington DC (SPX) Feb 29, 2016


Twenty Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) views of the Sun. Image courtesy ESA/NASA.

Models based on the Sun's polar magnetic fields performed best in simulating the solar cycle and predicting solar behavior. Solar activity level rises and falls every 11 years. The most recent maximum in solar activity level, the 24th since recording began in 1755, was the weakest in almost 100 years and peaked in early 2014.

Solar activity refers to dark regions on the surface of the Sun called sunspots, where the Sun's magnetic field has become tangled. They can produce sudden explosions of energy in the form of intense radiation and energetic particles.

Sometimes, these regions will even kick out a portion of the tangled magnetic field and send it hurdling into space in an event called a coronal mass ejection. When these bursts of radiation, particles, and magnetic field reach Earth, they cause geomagnetic storms, which can interfere with communication satellites and power grids on the ground. These events could also be harmful to astronauts traveling to Mars, exposing them to possibly deadly amounts of radiation.

For each solar cycle scientists publish their forecasts, using their own preferred methods, anticipating how large the peak of solar activity will be and when it will occur. Now that the peak of solar cycle 24 has passed, a new study by Pesnell compares all of the predictions to determine which forecasts were the most accurate.

The two most popular ways to model the solar cycle were (1) to use the historical record of the number of sunspots and (2) to couple the sunspot number to another measurement that varies with the solar cycle. Scientists who used the sunspot number alone argued that past trends can predict statistically what the next solar cycle will look like.

This method is particularly appealing because the historical record of sunspots goes back farther than any other space weather measurement. But it turns out that models using this number alone rarely made better predictions than just the average of previous solar maxima.

Scientists who coupled the sunspot number to another measurement predominantly chose either geomagnetic activity level or the strength of the magnetic fields at the Sun's poles.

For past solar cycles, models using geomagnetic activity level made more accurate predictions, but this accuracy may be due to the fact that solar polar magnetic field data were scarce or unreliable. This time, for solar cycle 24, the models using polar magnetic fields made the best predictions by far.

For solar cycle 25, slated to begin as early as 2020, the author predicts that scientists will need more information on the Sun's magnetic field to increase the accuracy of their models and points out that these predictions will be essential as our society's reliance on technology grows and we strive to become an interplanetary species. (Space Weather, doi:10.1002/2015SW001304, 2016)

.


Related Links
Earth and Space Science at AGU
Solar Science News at SpaceDaily






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
SOLAR SCIENCE
NASA Helps Power Grids Weather Geomagnetic Storms
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Feb 18, 2016
On March 9, 1989, a huge cloud of solar material exploded from the sun, twisting toward Earth. When this cloud of magnetized solar material - called a coronal mass ejection, or CME - reached our planet, it set off a chain of events in near-Earth space that ultimately knocked out power to the Canadian province Quebec for about nine hours. Though CMEs hit Earth often, those with the potential to s ... read more


SOLAR SCIENCE
New Lunar Exhibit Features NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Imagery

Lunar love: When science meets artistry

NASA releases strange 'music' heard by 1969 astronauts

NASA chooses ASU to design and operate special satellite

SOLAR SCIENCE
Opportunity Mars Rover Goes Six-Wheeling up a Ridge

Jarosite in the Noctis Labyrinthus Region of Mars

Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli are joined

Footprints of a martian flood

SOLAR SCIENCE
Tools and Talent at Michoud to Complete SLS Core Stage Welding in 2016

Orion Test Hardware in Position for Solar Array Test

Orion Simulations Help Engineers Evaluate Mission Operations for Crew

NASA Space Program Now Requires Russian Language

SOLAR SCIENCE
China to launch second space lab Tiangong-2 in Q3

Logistics Rule on Tiangong 2

China's moon lander Chang'e-3 enters 28th lunar day

Staying Alive on Tiangong 2

SOLAR SCIENCE
After nearly a year in space, Scott Kelly craves human contact

Scott Kelly returns to earth, but science for NASA's journey to Mars continues

Orbital ATK Completes OA-4 Cargo Delivery Mission to ISS for NASA

Send your computer code into space with astronaut Tim Peake

SOLAR SCIENCE
Arianespace Soyuz to launch 2 Galileo satellites in May

At last second, SpaceX delays satellite launch again

SpaceX postpones rocket launch again

Russian rocket engines ban could leave US space program in limbo

SOLAR SCIENCE
Newly discovered planet in the Hyades cluster could shed light on planetary evolution

Imaging Technique May Help Discover Earth-Like Planets Around Other Stars

Imaging technique may help discover Earth-like planets

Longest-Lasting Stellar Eclipse Discovered

SOLAR SCIENCE
Mystery of Dracula orchids' mimicry is unraveled with a 3-D printer

Shrinking 3-D technology for comfortable smart phone viewing

Modified laser cutter prints 3-D objects from powder

New NTU microchip shrinks radar cameras to fit into a palm




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News








The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.