Wednesday, April 1, 2009

All's quiet on the space weather front.

I may have made a critical mistake by instituting this blog during solar minimum. Space weather is boring right now. booorrrriiinnnggg.

The solar cycle is the 11 year period in the number of sunspots appearing on the surface of the sun. During maximum, the number of spots is at a peak and solar storms occur frequently. This leads to great videos of solar flares and coronal mass ejections, space weather storms at Earth, strong aurora, and bad impacts on technology (more on that in forthcoming posts.)

Right now, we're in solar minimum. What's happening in space? Jack crap, that's what. Just to give you an idea of how boring the sun is, examine the following:

This graph, from the Space Weather Prediction Center, is up-to-date as of the end of February. The blue/black lines are actual data; the red line is the sunspot forecast. As far as sunspots, we have bottomed out. This limits the amount of space weather news I can blog about -- especially exciting stuff.

As for the forecast, this is an extremely difficult prediction and rarely is accurate. In a few weeks, SWPC's annual Space Weather Workshop will commence and an updated prediction will be reported. While I won't be attending this year, I will blog on any important news that I hear from it.

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