Quiet Interlude in Solar Max

Mar 08, 2013
Credit: NASA/SDO

(Phys.org) —Something unexpected is happening on the Sun. 2013 was supposed to be the year of "solar maximum," the peak of the 11-year sunspot cycle. Yet 2013 has arrived and solar activity is relatively low. Sunspot numbers are well below their values from 2011, and strong solar flares have been infrequent.

The image above shows the Earth-facing surface of the Sun on February 28, 2013, as observed by the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) on NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. HMI observes the solar disk at 6173 Ångstroms, a wavelength designed to study surface oscillations and the magnetic field.

HMI observed just a few small sunspots on an otherwise clean face, which is usually riddled with many spots during peak solar activity.

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User comments : 7

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srikkanth_kn
2 / 5 (4) Mar 08, 2013
Is it the first time in history ever since records began ?. Has enough time passed to conclude that Solar maxima really is not occurring ?
Cray421
5 / 5 (3) Mar 08, 2013
there was an article on march 4th that they think that the solar cycle has twin peaks in the maximum. so I guess think of it like a hurricane, and right now we are in the eye of the storm. but to find the answer we have to wait and see.
Doug_Huffman
2.6 / 5 (5) Mar 08, 2013
Please make an effective definition of solar maximum.

I believe that the SSN will not again be higher in this cycle. Another indicator is the polar magnetic fields have reversed. Max is past early and lower than predicted.

If it was easy then all could do it, rather than Dr. Leif Svalgaard.

http://www.leif.org/research/
Doug_Huffman
2.3 / 5 (6) Mar 08, 2013
katesisco
1 / 5 (6) Mar 08, 2013
It would be really strange if the south pole did not reverse; it took 2 years last 11 year cycle. If only we had more records that would show if this delay is common or rare.
Noumenon
1.9 / 5 (13) Mar 09, 2013
The left will find a way of taxing and regulating our behavior, because of this.

It's remarkable that this was "unexpected" while climatologists are able to predict the global temperature to 0.10 degree per decade as they claim.
Noumenon
2 / 5 (12) Mar 09, 2013
'"Sunspot numbers are well below their values from 2011, and strong solar flares have been infrequent,' the space agency says."

"Experts have been baffled by the apparent lack of activity - with many wondering if NASA simply got it wrong."