Articles in Sun
Well, it will be the weakest solar cycle in more than 50 years if it doesn’t pull off a double peak. Look at this graph to see how weak it has been compared to the last solar maximum:
Solar cycles vary between 10 and 13 years, so cycle 24 should definitely be peaking right now. The previous peaks of 1989 and 2001 were doubles. So, unless we have a lopsided double-peak, it is either a weak double-peak or it has already peaked and that’s all folks.
I’m certainly not disappointed, but the only three 2012 doom’n’gloom experts who had some degree of respectability (myself, Geryl and Joesph) all nominated the Sun as the most likely cause of harm.
Usually NOAA forecasters tells us that the odds of an X-flare (the highest category of solar flares) is less than 1%, even at what is supposedly the peak of the solar cycle. Today they say 15%, and 40% chance of a lesser M-Flare, due to a very large sunspot pointing at us. Read more at SpaceWeather.com.
It is only the biggest X-Flares that we should be fearing. Anything less than say X10 isn’t worth mentioning. But as we go up the scale (each number is 10 times more than the previous), then it gets scary. To put any flare today in perspective, the Carrington Event was a pair of flares,
The biggest flares since 1976 are listed here – a couple of dozen greater than X10 and only 6 greater than X15. The best guess regarding the Carrington Event says greater than X10, but they don’t attempt to put a precise number on it.
We are protected from solar storms by a cloud of charged particles, or plasma, that normally surrounds Earth out to a distance of four times the planet’s radius. Each Earth-directed solar outburst damages the cloud to some degree, and with time it repairs itself. A 2003 storm reduced the cloud to just 4 Earth radii. Scientists believe that a repeat of 1859’s Carrington Event would completely wipe out the plasma cloud, leaving us vulnerable for the following decade.
Certainly, in such a scenario, our satellites would be at great risk and we would expect to lose some or even all of them. Earth-based electrical systems would also face major damage. It really comes down to the odds of two Carrington Events occurring within a decade. We haven’t been observing the Sun long enough to know how likely or unlikely that is. But if we survive one, prudent survivalists would start preparing …
Although almost every 2012er focused on the end date of the Long Count calendar, few considered that it might be related to a cyclical phenomena. Even though every ancient Meso-American calendar is/was cyclical…
It has become muddled, but according to the ancient Maya and Aztec peoples, we are currently in either the 4th or 5th age/sun – representing a repeating process. Unless you believe in Gods that rule our fate, it must be a natural process. A prime candidate is of course the Sun. Our Sun. We haven’t been studying it long enough to know if it has any patterns beyond the 11-12 year solar cycle. But given its extraordinary lifespan, and natural processes, a large-scale pattern of activity wouldn’t be so surprising.
Evidence of solar activity is lacking in written records, but fortunately we do have evidence existing in tree rings – traces of Carbon-14 and Beryllium-10.
In 2012 scientist Fusa Miyake …
The current solar cycle was predicted by NASA etc to peak in late 2012, or early 2013. So far it has actually been very quiet. There are two possibilities as to where we are at in the cycle:
1. It actually peaked, albeit very weakly, back in 2011
2. It is going to have a double peak, with 2011 and mid/late 2013
The second possibility would not be terribly surprising, for the last two cycles ended with a double peak.
Pesnell notes yet another complication: “The last two solar maxima, around 1989 and 2001, had not one but two peaks.” Solar activity went up, dipped, then resumed, performing a mini-cycle that lasted about two years.
The same thing could be happening now. Sunspot counts jumped in 2011, dipped in 2012, and Pesnell expects them to rebound again in 2013.
Pesnell is a leading member of the NOAA/NASA Solar Cycle Prediction Panel, a blue-ribbon group of solar …
I said this a few days ago:
If sunspot AR1654 sends an X-flare our way, it will still most likely be one of the hundreds per century that do us and our satellites no harm at all. But because it is a large sunspot, pointing our way soon, then the potential for the next Carrington Event is there.
That hasn’t changed, but the relative threat of this particular sunspot has got worse. SpaceWeather.com say:
An X-flare could be in the offing. The magnetic field of big sunspot AR1654 is growing more complex. It is now classified as a ‘beta-gamma-delta’ magnetic field, which means it harbors energy for X-class eruptions. Any explosion today would be Earth-directed.
AR1654 is getting bigger as it turns toward Earth. Not only is the chance of flares increasing, but also the chance of an Earth-directed eruption.This could be the sunspot that breaks the recent lengthy spell of calm space weather around our planet.
It is all about potential. While a killer solar storm could catch us unawares in the quietest part of the solar cycle, the odds of it happening greatly increase:
at the height of the solar cycle (more sunspots to erupt)
from clusters of sunspots
from large sunspots
If sunspot AR1654 sends an X-flare our way, it will still most likely be one of the hundreds per century that do us and our satellites no harm at all. But because it is a large sunspot, pointing our way soon, then the potential for the next Carrington Event is there. While scientists say that the odds are something like 8% (or much less) per solar cycle …
Considering all the attention paid to Dec 21, 2012, it is almost ironic the lack of natural disasters. There hasn’t been a major earthquake in many weeks, and looks like the solar cycle has had an early and very weak peak.
Or, is now the time to start fearing the worst?
Tsunami warning after 7.5 quake strikes off Alaska
CHANCE OF FLARES: Sunspot AR1640 has developed a ‘beta-gamma-delta’ magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares.
It is almost ironic, and there’s a tiny part of me wondering if the ancient Maya predicted Dec 21, 2012 as the most un-eventful date to give us.
Yes, there are some winter storms in the USA/Europe. But these aren’t exactly unexpected. What is unusual is the lack of:
earthquakes – according to the USGS this is a list of the significant earthquakes of the last 4 months- have any reached your preferred news service?
Magnitude 6.8 VANUATU December 21, 2012
Magnitude 7.1 BANDA SEA December 10, 2012
Magnitude 6.3 NORTH ISLAND OF NEW ZEALAND December 07, 2012
Magnitude 7.3 OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN December 07, 2012
Magnitude 6.4 KURIL ISLANDS November 16, 2012
Magnitude 6.5 OFFSHORE GUATEMALA November 11, 2012
Magnitude 6.8 MYANMAR November 11, 2012
Magnitude 4.3 EASTERN KENTUCKY November 10, 2012
Magnitude 7.4 OFFSHORE GUATEMALA November 07, 2012
Magnitude 7.7 QUEEN CHARLOTTE ISLANDS REGION October 28, 2012
Magnitude 6.5 COSTA RICA October 24, 2012
Magnitude 5.3 CENTRAL CALIFORNIA …
Ordinarily more sun spots means more solar storms. Get some sunspots combining and a major storm is possible.
But right now it looks like there won’t even be a minor X -Class flare. NASA rates the odds at just 1%.
The following is the latest Joint USAF/NOAA Solar Geophysical Activity Report and Forecast:
IA. Analysis of Solar Active Regions and Activity from 19/2100Z to 20/2100Z: Solar activity has been at very low levels for the past 24 hours. There are currently 3 numbered sunspot regions on the disk.
IB. Solar Activity Forecast: Solar activity is likely to be at low levels on days one, two, and three (21 Dec, 22 Dec, 23 Dec).
IIA. Geophysical Activity Summary 19/2100Z to 20/2100Z: The geomagnetic field has been at quiet to unsettled levels for the past 24 hours. Solar wind speed, as measured by the ACE spacecraft, reached a peak around 500 km/s. Total IMF reached 7.2 nT …
Until now the largest recorded solar storm has been the Carrington Event of 1859. Scientific discussions of solar storm risks typically refer to this event. What they often neglect to mention is that we have only been observing solar storms since just before that date. The frequency of these massive storms has impossible to tell without more data.
“In the 160-year record of geomagnetic storms, the Carrington event is the biggest.” It’s possible to delve back even farther in time by examining arctic ice. “Energetic particles leave a record in nitrates in ice cores,” he explains. “Here again the Carrington event sticks out as the biggest in 500 years and nearly twice as big as the runner-up.”
These statistics suggest that Carrington flares are once in a half-millennium events. The statistics are far from solid, however, and Hathaway cautions that we don’t understand flares well enough to rule out a repeat …
I’m not the best at this game. It took me over a decade to work out the most likely reason for the existence of the Long Count calendar, and although I mention it a lot in passing I’m not sure if I have actually announced my discovery. And I just realized I should be putting it on the home page of this site, so the thousands who visit every day can read my thoughts.
With just 8 days to go, here is my official announcement: 2012 Solved!
1. Many ancient cultures (including the Maya) were capable of watching the skies over long periods of time (longer than we have), and recording their observations.
2. Auroras at low latitudes (down towards the equator) are very rare, less than once per lifetime. Ancient cultures, unable to explain their presence, could have been very scared and concerned when auroras were observed.
3. By noting auroral activity over …
This is the closest date for an eclipse to the end of the Mayan calendar. And according to my research, lunar eclipses (and a day or so either side) have double the odds of a major earthquake compared to the average. While most earthquake experts will tell you a megaquake of 10+ cannot happen, I consider it to be a possibility.
Nov 28 is the date I am most concerned about, besides Dec 21. But don’t be overly alarmed, I reckon it would be impossible for the Mayan calendar to be solely an earthquake prediction. That doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be an earthquake, it just means that something else would be triggering the quake. Patrick Geryl suggests the Sun is the trigger.
This is brand new – just released this weekend, and is perhaps the last piece of new, quality 2012 science available before the ancient Mayan doomsday. Video link below.
Does the sun have the power to transform humankind?
In Solar (R)evolution, world-renowned German biophysicist Dieter Broers makes a compelling case, pointing to a wealth of scientific evidence that shows a remarkable correlation between increases in solar activity and advances in our creative, mental, and spiritual abilities.
We are in the midst of a dramatic rise in solar disturbances, which have the capability of disrupting the Earth’s geomagnetic field and, as a result, our global ecology. Broers, however,sees this not as an impending apocalypse but as the dawn of a new era.
Drawing on research from a variety of disciplines, he shows how erupting solar activity carries the potential to boost our brain capacity and expand our minds in ways we never imagined possible. Abilities …
I’m not talking ordinary solar storms. I’m talking a once-in-every-40-thousand-years solar storm. That’s something we have no written record of, and given how little we know about our Sun, it is quite possible that it is capable of sending such a super-massive solar storm our way when it feels like it.
So, if a super-massive solar storm – say ten times more powerful than the Carrington Event – could one day occur, could it be powerful enough to flip our magnetic poles?
That’s a question for a physicist, not me. But I did find these two snippets:
It is conceivable that a very large cosmic ray barrage could induce a ring current magnetic field large enough to reverse the geomagnetic polarity at the Earth’s surface. Particle -induced field reversals have been simulated in the laboratory by injecting large quantities of charged particles into a magnetic field (Golden et al., 1981). At a certain …