Podcast: Download (Duration: 19:47 — 13.6MB)
Out of 365 days in 2008, 266 were without sunspots. So far in 2009, January had 25 sunspot free days; February had 23 sun spot free days; and March had 28 sun spot free days. Solar Cycle 23 began in a May 1996 minimum, so by April 2009, it’s been thirteen years between minimums and still no increasing sunspots. The last time a solar cycle has gone thirteen years between minimums was Solar Cycle 15 in 1902 to 1913.
Podcast: Download (Duration: 20:55 — 14.4MB)
Our sun not only hums in a rhythmic beat, which you can hear in this Earthfiles podcast, it is confusing solar physicists.
Coming up is Solar Maximum 24, reaching its peak between 2010 to 2012. Will there be a lot of X-flares that can hurt astronauts, fry satellites and damage electrical power stations? The sun is sending contradictory signals. But NASA has weighed in on the space weather debate with the prediction this maximum could be the strongest in 400 years since record keeping began.