A team led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) said the sunspot cycle began this fall, maybe one of the strongest on record.
The research team predicts that the 25 sunspot cycle will be the strongest, with between 210 and 260 sunspots. This number has never been seen before.
In the past, cycle 24, there were 116 spots. An expert group consensus forecast convened by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted that the next cycle would be just as weak, with an estimated 115 sunspots.
However, the new forecast prepared by NCAR runs counter to conventional wisdom. If confirmed, this will become one of the main evidence of the unpopular theory that the Sun lives in 22-year magnetic cycles, which interact, creating side activity every 11 years.
According to the study authors, 22-year cycles are repeated. They could be the key to ultimately accurately predicting the timing and nature of sunspot cycles and the many effects they produce.
The study was supported by the National Science Foundation, a sponsor of NCAR and NASA’s Living With a Star program.