The Calm Before the Solar Storm? NASA Warns
'Something Unexpected Is Happening to the Sun'
unexpected' is happening on the Sun, Nasa has warned.
This year was
supposed to be the year of 'solar maximum,' the peak of the 11-year
But as this
image reveals, solar activity is relatively low.
Sunspot numbers are well below their values from 2011, and strong
solar flares have been infrequent, as this image shows despite
Nasa forecasting major solar storms
are well below their values from 2011, and strong solar flares have
been infrequent,' the space agency says.
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.
just a few small sunspots on an otherwise clean face, which is usually
riddled with many spots during peak solar activity.
been baffled by the apparent lack of activity with many wondering
if NASA simply got it wrong.
physicist Dean Pesnell of NASAs Goddard Space Flight Center
believes he has a different explanation.
'This is solar
maximum,' he says.
'But it looks
different from what we expected because it is double-peaked.'
'The last two
solar maxima, around 1989 and 2001, had not one but two peaks.'
went up, dipped, then rose again, performing a mini-cycle that lasted
about two years, he said.
Researchers have recently captured massive sunspots on the solar
surface and believed we should have seen more
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