Cycle 24 officially ceased in December 2019 but overlapped with the emerging cycle 25 for quite a while. When a council of specialists from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) came together to calculate the sun’s action for cycle 25, they anticipated that the upcoming cycle would also be weak.
Forecasters thus believed that cycle 25 would be a weak one. However, it’s turning out to be the opposite. From its beginning, this solar cycle has been slowly outpacing predictions, generating more sunspots and emitting more solar wind, flares, and eruptions than the world’s top experts suggested.
However, while most space weather scientists are struggling and saying, “We still know very little about our star,” one heliophysicist has emerged as the dark horse in space weather forecasting. His model of the sun’s behavior appears to have cracked the code.
A short glance at the sun’s radiant disk demonstrates very little about the star’s dynamic life. Ordinary Earthlings feel more influenced by disturbing clouds obstructing their rays. Yet astronomers equipped with telescopes have learned since the 17th century that the sun’s surface alters every day, blowing up with dark spots that grow and shrink, change shape and shift across the sun’s surface, and vanish over time to be replaced with fresh ones. Since 1749, astronomers have been recording those sunspots carefully. However, by the middle of the 19th century, they felt that the number and size of these spots repeat themselves following a roughly 11-year solar cycle. Since the records started, the star has finished 24 cycles, with cycle 25 presently ongoing.