The last SunCycle of this Age :
From Karma to Timelessness
"On January 4, 2008, a reversed-polarity sunspot appeared — and this
signals the start of Solar Cycle 24," says David Hathaway of the Marshall Space Flight Center.
Solar activity waxes and wanes in 11-year cycles. Lately, we've been
experiencing the low ebb, "very few flares, sunspots, or activity of any
kind," says Hathaway. "Solar minimum is upon us."
The previous solar cycle, Solar Cycle 23, peaked in 2000-2002 with many
furious solar storms. That cycle decayed as usual to the present quiet,
leaving solar physicists little to do other than wonder, when would the next cycle begin?
The answer is now.
"New solar cycles always begin with a high-latitude, reversed polarity
sunspot," explains Hathaway. "Reversed polarity" means a sunspot with
opposite magnetic polarity compared to sunspots from the previous solar
cycle. "High-latitude" refers to the sun's grid of latitude and longitude.
Old cycle spots congregate near the sun's equator. New cycle spots appear
higher, around 25 or 30 degrees latitude.
The sunspot that appeared on January 4th fits both these criteria. It was
high latitude (30 degrees N) and magnetically reversed. NOAA named the spot
AR10981, or "sunspot 981" for short.
Sunspot 981 was small--only about as wide as Earth, which counts as small
on the grand scale of the sun--and it has already faded away. But its three
day appearance on Jan. 4-6 was enough to convince most solar physicists
that Solar Cycle 24 is underway.
Doug Biesecker of NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado,
likens sunspot 981 "to the first robin of spring. There's still snow on the ground, but the seasons are changing."
Last year, Biesecker chaired the Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel, an international group of experts
from many universities and government agencies. "We predicted that Solar Cycle 24
would begin around March 2008 and it looks like we weren't far off," he says.
The onset of a new solar cycle is significant because of our increasingly
space-based technological society.
"Solar storms can disable satellites that we depend on for weather
forecasts and GPS navigation," says Hathaway. Radio bursts from solar
flares can directly interfere with cell phone reception while coronal mass
ejections (CMEs) hitting Earth can cause electrical power outages. "The
most famous example is the Quebec outage of 1989, which left some Canadians
without power for as much as six days."
Air travel can be affected, too.
Every year, intercontinental flights carry thousands of passengers over
Earth’s poles. It's the shortest distance between, say, New York and
Tokyo or Beijing and Chicago. In 1999, United Airlines made just twelve
trips over the Arctic. By 2005, the number of flights had ballooned to
1,402. Other airlines report similar growth.
"Solar storms have a big effect on polar regions of our planet," says Steve
Hill of the Space Weather Prediction Center. "When airplanes fly over the
poles during solar storms, they can experience radio blackouts, navigation
errors and computer reboots all caused by space radiation." Avoiding the
poles during solar storms solves the problem, but it costs extra time,
money and fuel to "take the long way around."
Now for the good news: More solar storms also means more auroras—"the
greatest show on Earth." During the last solar maximum, Northern Lights
were spotted as far south as Arizona, Florida and California. Not so long
ago, only visitors to the Arctic regularly enjoyed auroras, but with
increasing attention to space weather and constantly improving forecasts,
millions of people at all latitudes will know when to go out and look.
Much of this is still years away. "Intense solar activity won't begin
immediately," notes Hathaway. "Solar cycles usually take a few years to
build from solar minimum (where we are now) to Solar Max, expected in 2011 or 2012."
It's a slow journey, but we're on our way.
Solar Cycle 24 has its Peak in 2012:
Prediction for the next years here:
Wir gehen in die dritte, heisse Phase...
Der letzte und (astrowissenschaftlich bestaetigte) intensivste Zyklus [24.]
der Sonnenaktivitaet hat am 4.01.2008 endgueltig begonnen:
nun wird die Sonnenaktivitaet und damit das
auf der Erde kontinuierlich intensiver werden,
denn wir haben das Minimum gerade ueberschritten.
Jeder sollte sich darueber im Klaren sein, wofuer er sich in
jedem Moment seiner Existenz entscheidet. Die Manifestationskraft
unseres Denkens wird nur noch wachsen, die Zeitdilatation sich immer mehr
verringern. Die Menschheit erhaelt ihre goettliche Schoepfungskraft zurueck.
Jeder von uns geht den Weg. Aus Einer Essenz geboren, fuer Ein Ziel bestimmt.
~ In Lak Ech ~
Are You Ready?
"Frei ist der Weg für den, der Weisheit hat, offen die Tür zum
Königreich des Lichts. Giesse Deine Flamme aus als eine Sonne des Morgens,
schließe die Dunkelheit aus und lebe im Tag." - Thoth, Smaragdtafel III