Articles in Solar Cycle
Our Sun operates on a cycle that takes roughly 11 years to complete. While the key indicator for when the cycle is at its peak is the number of sun spots, the root cause is the reversal of the Sun’s magnetic poles. And for some reason that scientists cannot explain, the Sun’s poles are currently out of step with each other:
“Right now, there’s an imbalance between the north and the south poles,” Jonathan Cirtain, NASA’s project scientist for a Japanese solar mission called Hinode, in a recent article on NASA’s website. “The north is already in transition, well ahead of the south pole, and we don’t understand why.”
Further, the asymmetrically reversing solar magnetic field could have an effect on Earth, resulting in increased solar flares and the accompanying bursts of radioactive particles called “coronal mass ejections,” or CMEs, that can hit Earth and cause brilliant Northern Lights displays and problematic geomagnetic solar storms, …
Many ancient cultures knew of planets that could not be seen with the naked eye, and therefore it is possible they counted sunspots as well. Yet there is a far easier way to keep track of solar activity: the Aurora Borealis (or northern lights) is a crude indicator that anybody can use.
“…northern lights activity may be taken as an indicator of the solar activity level.”
Solar Activity and Earth’s Climate, by Rasmus E. Benestad – page 166
Crude it may be, but keeping a count of when the Aurora Borealis is visible could be enough to spot long term patterns of solar activity.
Modern science has only been monitoring solar storms for two centuries. Ancient cultures that existed for a much longer period of time could have noticed a pattern that we are unaware of. Such a pattern could point to major solar activity in late 2012.
The earliest known account of northern lights appears …
As I have said before, once scientists have made predictions ahead of time, and then consequently got them right, for a few cycles in a row, then we might trust their forecasts. So far that hasn’t looked like happening, so take these new predictions with a grain of salt:
Three different measurements of solar activity, reported by scientists at a press conference today, suggest that the next 11-year-long solar cycle will be far quieter than the current one. In fact, it may not happen at all: Sunspots, the enormous magnetic storms that erupt on the sun’s surface as the cycle builds, might disappear entirely for the first time in approximately 400 years.
Although they say there will only be a slight cooling effect on climate, they have to say that, or else they would be admitting that climate change is not man-made. Yet the only recorded minimum anything like what they are …
It could be starting now.
“New solar cycles always begin with a high-latitude, reversed polarity sunspot,” explains Hathaway. “Reversed polarity ” means a sunspot with opposite magnetic polarity compared to sunspots from the previous solar cycle. “High-latitude” refers to the sun’s grid of latitude and longitude. Old cycle spots congregate near the sun’s equator. New cycle spots appear higher, around 25 or 30 degrees latitude.
The region that appeared on Dec. 11th fits both these criteria. It is high latitude (24 degrees N) and magnetically reversed. Just one problem: There is no sunspot. So far the region is just a bright knot of magnetic fields. If, however, these fields coalesce into a dark sunspot, scientists are ready to announce that Solar Cycle 24 has officially begun.