Scientists from the government agencies of NOAA and NASA today announced that the solar minimum of the past sunspot cycle occurred in December 2019, and that the ramp up to the next solar maximum has begun, which they predict will be as active as the last weak maximum.
The announcement and prediction was put forth by “the Solar Cycle 25 Prediction Panel, an international group of experts co-sponsored by NASA and NOAA.” While this group is made up of legitimate scientists studying the Sun, its press releases tend to be lobbying efforts for government programs, which nicely describes today’s release as well. The release not only touts the importance of their work, it links this work to the Trump administration’s Artemis program to get back to the Moon.
Note also that this announcement only makes official what has been obvious for months, as I have noted in my monthly sunspot updates. See for example this quote from my September 7th update:
What is clear is that the activity does herald the next maximum. As in the past few months, the sunspots in August all had polarities that assigned them to the new maximum. While it is not impossible for there to be a handful of sunspots in the next few months that belong to the last maximum, it now appears that the last cycle is pretty much over. We are entering the ramp up to the next maximum, presently predicted by a portion of the solar science community aligned with NOAA to be a weak one.
The only change is that it appears they are upping their prediction for the next maximum slightly. Before the prediction panel had said that the next maximum would be weaker than the past maximum. Now they it appears they are saying it will be the same.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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