NASA has officially stated that the solar maximum has arrived, though it’s much smaller than usual. As if to highlight the event the Sun produced two X-Class flares from a newly emerging sunspot on the far eastern limb of our star. Sunspot AR 2087 was formally known as AR 2069, NASA renumbers the spots when they reappear from the far side of the sun.
The good stuff starts at the 30 second mark.
Another sunspot, AR 2080 also has the unstable field that can give rise to X-Class flares, and that one is earth facing. AR 2087 is a particularly potent sunspot and will move into a direct line with Earth over the next few days.
NASAs Dean Pensall says of the high activity at this Cycle 24 maximum:
“The sun’s magnetic field has flipped; we are starting to see the development of long coronal holes; and, oh yes, sunspot counts are cresting.”
“This solar cycle continues to rank among the weakest on record,” comments Ron Turner of Analytic Services, Inc. who serves as a Senior Science Advisor to NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts program. To illustrate the point, he plotted the smoothed sunspot number of Cycle 24 vs. the previous 23 cycles since 1755. “In the historical record, there are only a few Solar Maxima weaker than this one.”
“Solar Cycle 24, such as it is, will probably start fading by 2015.” Ironically, that is when some of the bigger flares and magnetic storms could occur.” (Read the full NASA article)
The Carrington Event in 1859 shows the true power of the sun. Should such an event happen today, the consequences would be catastrophic. Our technological based society wouldn’t know what had hit it. The power would go out for an extended period, and life as we currently know it would cease. The transformers that would be burnt out by the surge would take years to replace, and until that time we would have to survive without power.
You can read more about the Carrington Event here.
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Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies. Chris is an editor for The Daily Sheeple. Wake the flock up!