The solar cycle is a period of sun’s magnetic activity that has a rough span of eleven years. The observation is based on studies of the Sun’s ‘flare spots’ or sunspots. According to scientists, the last solar flare began in December 2019.
Previously, the last big flare was observed in 2012. According to science.com, Doug Biesecker, Solar physicist at NOAA space weather prediction centre, said, “Solar cycle 25 will reach a peak sunspot number of 115 in July of 2025,” noting that a particularly active solar cycle usually sees a peak sunspot number over 200.
He believes the new cycle will be calmer than the previous one. The solar cycle is an important field of study because it helps understand space weather better. Studying and understanding events like eruptions, solar flares and coronal mass ejections in the space can actually affect us. Power grids, satellites, GPS, airlines, rockets and space exploration are all affected by solar flares.
Even though the official beginning was in 2019, due to the Sun’s being so variable, the prediction panel announced the predictions for the cycle on Tuesday. According to the prediction, Solar Cycle 25 will be much like the one that lasted these past 11 years. The Solar maximum, which is described as peak activity, will likely occur in July 2025. These ‘peak’ eruptions or flare can disrupt communication activities on Earth.
However, despite being predicted as generally ‘calm’, Solar Cycle 25 should not be considered as completely harmless. According to Biesecker, the Sun’s activities have a great impact on us. The last major storm in 2012 missed colliding with Earth very closely. He also compared the flares season to storm season. He says even if all storms don’t touch the land, those that do can have devastating effects.
As mentioned earlier, a lot of human activities can get affected by solar flares. Therefore scientists, like Biesecker’s teams, have an important task of tracking and predicting any future interruptions.
During this Solar Cycle, the sun will transform from calm to intense to active seasons. Therefore, there won’t be uniform flares throughout the 11-year period.