The Inside Scoop on Solar Cycle 24
Seems like the Internet and radio outlets are BUZZING about a phenomena called Solar Cycle 24. Thanks to Coast to Coast AM radio, the panic is beginning to spread, as the term solar cycle will soon reach a full peak in upcoming months.
What shows like CoastToCoast do is capitalize and cash in on speculation about the end of the earth, a giant government conspiracy, or how reliance on technology will lead to your undoing. You’d think that with the X-Files having been off the air for a while now, shows like this wouldn’t still be in vogue, but…heck, it’s great to listen to if you work 3rd shift.
Anyway, here is the straight dope on solar cycles and the infamous “Solar Cycle 24″:
According to the Associated Press, all the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration saidwas that the first sunspot of a new 11-year cycle has appeared in the sun’s northern hemisphere. Based on previous stats, it can be predicted that sunspot activity will increase. (This does NOT necessary mean that Solar Cycle 24 has officially begun.)
It doesn’t help that the NOAA spokesperson Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr said that an intense solar storm could create magnetic disturbances on earth, and hamper the effectiveness of “electrical grids, airline and military communications, GPS signals and even cell phones”.
It’s amazing that solar cycles have happened since the beginning of the earth’s formation, yet we are supposed to be concerned now, in 2008.
For the record, all of this comes from an April, 2007 panel of “solar experts” forecasting that Solar Cycle 24 would start in March 2008, “plus or minus six months”, and the “panel” was split between those predicting a strong or weak cycle.
The first sunspot region with Solar Cycle 24 polarity was numbered by the Space Weather Prediction Center on January 4 at 3:00 P.M.
This does not mean the new cycle has officially started- it is merely a prelude to an increase of sunspot activity in the future. SEC / NOAA’s own stats predict that the solar activity is forecast to reach a peak in 2011 or 2012.
Take a look at the official government report for today:
Range 1 (minor) to 5 (extreme)
Past 24 hours
Current : NONE
Geomagnetic Storms: NONE
Solar Radiation Storms : NONE
Radio Blackouts: NONE
Remember folks, the MEDIA loves to sell doom and gloom. I mean, can we PREPARE for a solar storm? Nope. What will be will be.