The 'solar cycle' reflects magnetic changes in our star, seen in the change of position as well as magnetic polarity of sunspots. It was discovered and first described by German astronomer Samuel Heinrich Schwabe in 1843. This cycle waxes and wanes every 11 (earth) years. The last solar cycle (cycle 23, by human count) peaked in 2000-2002 then decayed to its low in 2008. A new cycle (solar cycle 24) began in that year. The 'solar maximum' is expected to occur sometime in 2012 (2013?).
A 'solar maximum' implies increased solar magnetic activity
- more sunspot changes, more solar flares and possibly a 'solar storm'. To what
degree a solar storm affects our planet depends on the severity of the storm
itself as well as whether the storm on the sun takes place on an area that
directly faces the earth or at an angle, either resulting in a 'direct hit' of
our planet or simply a glancing blow.
|Samuel Heinrich Schwabe|
In early 2012, a mild solar storm hit our planet resulting in brilliant auroras at both poles - electromagnetic radiation of a benign nature that showed us once again the beauty of nature (see post: Fire in the Sky).
|Solar Flares ('Storms')|
|'Coronal Mass Ejection' (CME)|
In the year 2012, our planet was hit by severe solar storms. During the week of March 5, 2012, the earth was witness to increased solar 'rage'. But a big one? Has our lonely blue planet ever been struck by a large CME? A direct hit? What happened?
*Solar radiation: subject of research for the novel The Tao of the Thirteenth God - Amazon Kindle.