By Dr Beck
First things first. Below, you will find a 45 minute lecture given by Prof Dr Dan Britt, UCF professor and creator of Exolith, a NASA contractor. I recommend you listen to it, and watch it, although it is 10 years old. Dan is an amazing fellow. A graduate of the UW-Seattle; a former officer in the Air Force. Here he discusses an area of research, The History of Climate, for which he is an expert, but to which he can apply the tools of astrophysics, as well.
Now, that you HAVE watched his lecture, let me intro the GONG Network to you. The GONG Network is known to most astronomers, amateur and professional alike. I have included a direct link to the GONG H-Alpha Website. You will see something like these images with links to short videos of our Sun under H-Alpha light – the light of hydrogen atoms.
Under H-Alpha light, we should be able to see sunspots, CME (Coronal Mass Ejections), flares, etc. As you can see from 21-22AUG22, these are few and far between. Perhaps a bad day. Or two. We are headed towards solar maximum in 3 years (Cycle25) of the 11-year cycle in which these should be significant. Like they have been to this point (see the ISES Solar Cycle below from the NOAA Website).
In fact, it looks like we maybe ahead of schedule for Solar maximum or a huge return to normalcy in our Solar cycles with dramatic maximal peak events. So said Forbes Financial News last week. But are we?
This is a critical time to watch our Sun. Will this week’s recent decline give us an unusual peak or multi-peaks like last cycle before the predicted maximum? Or is this an early maximum with a decline coming later? If there is a take-home lesson from this solar cycle, it is this: Our Sun still has many things to teach us about heliophysics.
This article in SCIENCE from 2011 suggests a quiet Sun May equate with Ice-Age events. But there is more to it than that. It is the position of the Earth in its orbit around the Sun, as well. All the best in your solar observational programs! Please feel free to comment and share your findings here.