A plunge in solar activity in December

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The monthly update of the Sun’s developing sunspot cycle was published tonight by NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center. You can see the newest graph below, which shows the slow rise in sunspots (blue/black lines) in comparison with the consensis prediction made by the solar science community in May 2009 (red line).

Not only does the Sun’s generally quiet trend continue, its activity took an additional plunge in December, dropping significantly from the previous month. This drop is probably due to the seven days of no sunspots that took place in mid-December.

All in all, we continue to head for the weakest maximum in two hundred years (see the graph on this page), which in the past meant very cold weather. Though scientists do not yet understand why the Sun does this or how these changes in solar activity influence the climate as much as they do, that this in now happening at a time when we have the technology to truly study it is an opportunity that must not be missed.

The December sunspot graph


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