Our Sun’s solar cycle will peak earlier than expected, which means the star at the center of our solar system is going to reach its solar maximum before the next forecast peak, and that could help us learn more about the star as a whole, researchers believe.
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Previously, it was believed that our Sun’s solar activity would peak sometime in July 2025. However, new forecasts put that solar maximum happening much earlier than expected. Solar activity is important because it has an impact on Earth’s technology and on the Earth itself.
Scientists rely on forecasts of this information to try to figure out when it is happening so that we can plan around it. Knowing when solar maximum is coming, for example, will help us prepare better to deal with increased solar activity that can affect our GPS signals and radio waves.
It is important to understand when and why the solar maximum occurs. Scientists may have to alter their interpretation of the Sun’s data because it doesn’t match the model.
Instead of July of 2025, a new alternative forecast published by a team of scientists led by NASA’s Robert Leamon and Scott McIntosh posits that the cycle will peak a year earlier, in mid to late 2024. Further, the forecast suggests that the activity of sunspots on the surface will be twice the official prediction.
As far as ongoing observations go, the Sun’s current activity seems to support this alternative forecast, researchers point out in a post on The Conversation. So why are these forecasts so different? Well, much of it comes down to the model used to determine when a solar cycle ends. A solar cycle doesn’t work like a switch. It doesn’t just turn on and off instantaneously.
Things move a lot more slowly, and they kind of fade in and out. So, depending on when the researchers estimate the end of the last solar peak, they might find a different forecast for the next one. With a solar cycle that lasts 11 years, finding the solar maximum isn’t always easy. And when the cycle peaks next year or the year after, it’ll bring a ton of potential solar flares, which we’ll need to keep a close eye on.
The post The Sun will reach solar maximum early, new forecast claims appeared first on BGR.