Solar Cycle 24—Ending February At Low Activity


Solar Cycle 24 activity is relatively low as the month of February comes to a close. On February 27, only three visible Sunspot clusters could be seen. Solar Cycle 24 International Sunspot smoothed number for February 2015 looks like it will be about 65.

regions_feb27

There are two on the backside of the Sun and they can be seen as well as the three from the front side on the following image:

feb27fullsunsphereincludingthebackside This image shows backside Sunspot areas, 2282 and 2288. It is forecast that these two will rotate into view in about 7-1/2 days and 8-1/2 days, respectively. This image is provided by two satellites that are orbiting around the Sun, essentially in Earth’s orbital path –one leading and one following Earth. These satellites are from the NASA “Stereo” Program.   A video showing the orbital features can be seen by clicking on the link below.

http://stereo-ssc.nascom.nasa.gov/gallery/movies/STEREO_heliocentric.mov

Orientation, is as follows: The Sun is the Yellow ball. The Earth is the Green ball. The ahead satellite A is Red and the behind satellite B is Blue. The Venus and Mercury are the obits inside the Earth’s orbit.

STEREO System is experience some problems as A and B are about 180 degrees away from the Earth’s position. This is causing the high gain antenna to experience unexpectedly high temperatures caused by pointing the antenna almost directly at the Sun in order to transmit information to Earth. NASA has changed the protocol somewhat to protect the high gain antennas and thus the transmission quality is suffering. NASA says by January 2016 the system will be back to normal.  This chart illustrates the orbital positions for 28 February 2025.

where_is_stereo

Solar Cycle 24 activity appears to be weakening with its trajectory on the way to a minimum.

cycle24feb2015The following chart by NOAA of Solar Cycle 24 seems to confirm the idea that on its way to a minimum. The interesting thing on this chart is that the projection shown in red, is that the Solar Cycle 24 will end somewhere in or after 2019. Cycle 24 officially began in December 2008. So if you think that it will be a typical 11 year Cycle, then it should end in December 2019. But will it?

solar-cycle-sunspot-numberNOAAprediction cbdakota

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