24/7 Space News
Solar activity likely to peak next year, new study suggests
Sol with a serious case of the pox as we near Solar Maximum.
Solar activity likely to peak next year, new study suggests
by Staff Writers
London, UK (SPX) Nov 29, 2023

Researchers at the Center of Excellence in Space Sciences India at IISER Kolkata have discovered a new relationship between the Sun's magnetic field and its sunspot cycle, that can help predict when the peak in solar activity will occur. Their work indicates that the maximum intensity of solar cycle 25, the ongoing sunspot cycle, is imminent and likely to occur within a year. The new research appears in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters.

Our star, the Sun, is made up of hot ionized gas known as plasma. Huge plasma flows and convection conspire together to form magnetic fields inside the Sun which manifest on the surface as dark spots. These sunspots are comparable to the size of the Earth and are seats of intense magnetism, about 10,000 times stronger than the Earth's magnetic field.

Sometimes the sunspot magnetic fields are disrupted in violent events which result in the birth of solar magnetic storms such as flares or coronal mass ejections. These storms release high energy radiation and hurl vast amounts of magnetized plasma in to outer space. The most intense of these storms can cause serious damage to orbiting satellites, electric power grids and telecommunications when Earth directed.

Centuries of observations starting from the early 1600s show that the number of sunspots observed on the Sun varies periodically. Approximately every 11 years the number of spots and the intensity of solar activity reach a peak when the most violent perturbations in planetary space environments - or space weather - are expected. However, predicting when this peak is going to occur has remained challenging.

The solar cycle is produced by a dynamo mechanism driven by energy from plasma flows inside the Sun. This dynamo mechanism is understood to involve two primary components of the Sun's magnetic field, one which manifests in the cycle of sunspots and another which manifests in a recycling of the large-scale dipole field of the Sun; the latter is much like the Earth's magnetic field - stretching from one pole of the Sun to another. With the cycle of sunspots, the Sun's dipole field is also observed to wax and wane in strength, the north and south magnetic poles swap places, also every 11 years.

In 1935, Swiss astronomer Max Waldmeier discovered that the faster the rate of rise of a sunspot cycle the stronger its strength, so stronger cycles take less time to rise to their peak intensity. This relationship has often been utilised to forecast the strength of a sunspot cycle based on observations of its early rising phase.

In a research manuscript appearing in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters, Priyansh Jaswal, Chitradeep Saha and Dibyendu Nandy of IISER Kolkata report the discovery of a new relationship, namely, the rate of decrease in the Sun's dipole magnetic field is also related to the rate of rise of the ongoing sunspot cycle.

This discovery, utilising decades-old data archives from multiple ground-based solar observatories around the world, complements the Waldmeier effect, connecting the two primary magnetic field components of the Sun and supporting the theory that the evolution of sunspots are integral to the functioning of the solar dynamo process rather than being a mere symptom of it.

The scientists demonstrate how observations of the rate of decrease of the Sun's dipole magnetic field can be usefully combined with sunspot observations to predict when the ongoing cycle would peak. Their analysis suggests that the maximum of solar cycle 25 is most likely to occur in early 2024 with an uncertainty in the estimate that ranges to September 2024.

With this discovery, a new window opens up for forecasting the timing of the peak of solar cycles - when the most intense activity and most frequent space weather disturbances are expected.

Research Report:Discovery of a relation between the decay rate of the Sun's magnetic dipole and the growth rate of the following sunspot cycle: a new precursor for solar cycle prediction

Related Links
Current Images at Sol
Royal Astronomical Society
Solar Science News at SpaceDaily

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
SwRI's PUNCH Mission Set for 2025 Launch: A New Era in Solar Wind Study
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Nov 28, 2023
The Polarimeter to UNify the Corona and Heliosphere (PUNCH) mission, a significant endeavor led by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), has recently crossed a pivotal milestone, advancing its journey toward a planned 2025 launch. On November 17, 2023, the mission successfully passed its internal system integration review, marking a crucial phase in its development. This step signifies the transition from assembling individual subsystems to integrating complete observatories, readying them for their spac ... read more

NASA shuttle astronaut, scientist Mary Cleave remembered as 'trailblazer'

U.S. and Saudi Arabia explore space for peaceful purposes

Sierra Space's Shooting Star Module Begins Rigorous Testing at NASA Facility

Russian Progress 86 spacecraft lifts off with supplies for ISS

NASA Tests In-Flight Capability of Artemis Moon Rocket Engine

NASA, small companies eye new cargo delivery, heat shield technologies

Boosting rocket reliability at the material level

Firefly Aerospace completes first Miranda Engine hot fire test

Farewell, Solar Conjunction 2023: Sols 4023-4024

Was There Life on Mars

NASA Orbiter snaps stunning views of Mars horizon

China's Mars rover detects irregular wedges beneath red planet

China's Lunar Samples on Display in Macao to Inspire Future Explorers

Wenchang Set to Become China's Premier Commercial Space Launch Hub by Next Year

China Manned Space Agency Delegation Highlights SARs' Role in Space Program

Shanghai Sets Sights on Expanding Space Industry with Ambitious 2025 Goals

Ovzon and SSC close to sealing satellite communication contract worth $10M

Embry-Riddle's Innovative Mission Control Lab prepares students for booming space sector

A major boost for space skills and research in North East England

GalaxySpace to boost mobile broadband with new-gen satellite technology

Air Force awards UTEP Grant to safeguard assets in space

China launches tech-experiment satellite

A satellite's death spiral

Beyond Gravity unveils reusable payload fairing concept

First extragalactic exoplanet disc spotted outside of the Milky Way

Discovery of planet too big for its sun throws off solar system formation models

Alien haze, cooked in a lab, clears view to distant water worlds

Webb study reveals rocky planets can form in extreme environments

Unwrapping Uranus and its icy moon secrets

Juice burns hard towards first-ever Earth-Moon flyby

Fall into an ice giant's atmosphere

Juno finds Jupiter's winds penetrate in cylindrical layers

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2023 - 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. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. 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. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.