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Solar Activity Likely to Peak Next Year, New Study Suggests

Researchers at the Center of Excellence in Space Sciences India at IISER Kolkata have discovered that the maximum intensity of solar cycle 25, the ongoing sunspot cycle, is imminent and likely to occur within a year. The new research appears in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters.

What is the sunspot cycle?

The sunspot cycle is a period of about 11 years during which the number of sunspots on the sun's surface increases and decreases. Sunspots are dark areas on the sun that are cooler than the surrounding plasma. They are caused by strong magnetic fields that disrupt the flow of plasma.

What does this new study mean?

This new study suggests that the rate of decrease of the sun's dipole magnetic field can be used to predict when the peak of a solar cycle will occur. The analysis suggests that the maximum of solar cycle 25 is most likely to occur in early 2024, with an uncertainty in the estimate that ranges to September 2024.

What are the implications of this study?

This study could have important implications for our understanding of space weather. Space weather is the name for the conditions in space that are affected by the sun. These conditions can have a significant impact on our technology, including satellites, power grids, and telecommunications systems.

Journal Information: Priyansh Jaswal et al, Discovery of a relation between the decay rate of the Sun's magnetic dipole and the growth rate of the following sunspot cycle: a new precursor for solar cycle prediction, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters (2023). DOI: 10.1093/mnrasl/slad122
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