Is the sun holding back on radio contesters around the globe? Could 2013-2014 be the true peak? These questions, near and dear to every radio sport fan, have NASA experts puzzled.
NASA scientists have been watching the sun with puzzled looks because it’s not behaving like they predicted. Solar activity, such as solar flares and sunspots, has been lower than expected. The year 2013 was suppose to be the peak of an 11-year sunspot cycle called the “solar maximum”.
The surface of the sun appears very uniform and clear of activity when scientists expected to see the surface dotted with sunspots. In February 2013, they did watch agiant sunspot emerge on the surface, eventually becoming as big as six Earth diameters. Outside of this, researchers haven’t observed much activity on the sun.
Either the prediction was wrong or it’s time to pull out an alternative explanation.
A researcher at the Goddard Space Flight Center for NASA thinks we are still in the peak cycle but things just don’t look as expected. He believes that we are experiencing a double-peak cycle. This is when solar activity cycles between a high and low quickly over about a two year period. He sites 1989 and 2001 as years where we saw the double-peak phenomenon.
According to this NASA scientist, we are at the low of this double-peak cycle with very little solar activity. He anticipates that we will see the high side of the cycle in 2013 which may extend into 2014.