Thursday, June 27, 2019

Now Here's Irina Kitiashvili With NASA's Solar Cycle Forecast

From NASA, June 12:
Solar Activity Forecast for Next Decade Favorable for Exploration
The last astronauts of the Apollo program were lucky. Not just because they were chosen to fly to the Moon, but because they missed some really bad weather en route. This wasn’t a hurricane or heat wave, but space weather – the term for radiation in the solar system, much of which is released by the Sun. In August 1972, right in between the Apollo 16 and Apollo 17 missions, a solar storm occurred sending out dangerous bursts of radiation. On Earth, we're protected by our magnetic field, but out in space, this would have been hazardous for the astronauts.

The ability to forecast these kinds of events is increasingly important as NASA prepares to send the first woman and the next man to the Moon under the Artemis program. Research now underway may have found a reliable new method to predict this solar activity. The Sun's activity rises and falls in an 11-year cycle. The forecast for the next solar cycle says it will be the weakest of the last 200 years. The maximum of this next cycle – measured in terms of sunspot number, a standard measure of solar activity level – could be 30 to 50% lower than the most recent one. The results show that the next cycle will start in 2020 and reach its maximum in 2025....

Now to sports...
Kidding, Here's Dr. K.

If her accent is too tough to follow, here is the slide deck from a presentation to the American Astronomical Society:

We'll have more as the current solar cycle 24 comes to its end and the implications for volcanoes, hurricanes, clouds and all sorts of other stuff.