Space Weather: Sunspots, Solar Flares, and Solar Activity

Solar Cycle 24 Forecasts

Space Weather and Solar Flares

We have long believed that solar activity can influence weather here on Earth. We are now in Solar Cycle 24, which has seen very low solar activity thus far. Learn more about solar activity—specifically solar flares and sunspots—and why it matters.

What is Solar Activity?

The Sun may seem like it’s a constant, always looking the same. However, just like planet Earth, the Sun has weather. It has storms. And its storms can affect Earth’s weather.

  • Sunspots are magnetic storms on the surface of the Sun.
  • Solar flares are strong flashes of x-rays and light energy that shoot off of the Sun’s surface into space at the speed of light.
  • Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are massive clouds of gas and magnetic matter that are eruptions spreading into space.
  • Other solar events include solar wind streams that come from the coronal holes on the Sun and solar energetic particles that are primarily released by CMEs.

Solar Flare. Credit: NASA

What is a Solar Cycle?

The number of sunspots (storms on the Sun) increase and decrease over time in a regular, approximately 11-year cycle, called the solar or sunspot cycle. More sunspots mean more solar activity. The highest number of sun spots in any given cycle is designated “solar maximum,” while the lowest number is designated “solar minimum.”

Eleven years in the life of the Sun from 1980 (start of solar maximum) to 1986 (near minimum) to 1989 (near maximum again). Credit: NASA

How Does Solar Activity Affect Weather and Earth?

Solar activity affects the Earth in many ways, some which we are still coming to understand.

  • Damage to 21st-century satellites and other high-tech systems in space can be caused by an active Sun. Some of these systems are not protected by Earth’s atmospheric layers. So large solar flares have the potential to cause billions of dollars in damage to the world’s high-tech infrastructure—from GPS navigation to power grids to air travel to financial services.
  • Radiation hazards for astronauts and satellites can be caused by a quiet Sun. Weak solar winds allow more galactic cosmic rays into the inner solar system. 
  • Weather on Earth can also be affected. According to Bob Berman, astronomer for The Old Farmer’s Almanac, NOAA scientists have now concluded that four factors determine global temperatures: carbon dioxide levels, volcanic eruptions, Pacific El Niño pattern, and the Sun’s activity
  • Global climate change including long-term periods of global cold, rainfall, drought, and other weather shifts may also be influenced by solar cycle activity.

The Maunder Minimum or “Little Ice Age” 

Times of depressed solar activity seem to correspond with times of global cold.

For example, between 1645 and 1715—during what we now call the “Maunder Minimum”—there were only about 50 sunspots (instead of the usual 40 to 50 thousand) and harsh winters.

For 70 years, temperatures dropped by 1.8 to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit.

Painting by Abraham Hondius, “The Frozen Thames, looking Eastwards towards Old London Bridge,” 1677. Image credit: Museum of London.

Conversely, times of increased solar activity have corresponded with global warming. During the 12th and 13th centuries, the Sun was active, and the European climate was quite mild.

Solar Cycle 24 Progression

We are nine years into Solar Cycle 24, which means the 24th cycle since record-keeping began in 1755.

Sunspot counts have reached their lowest level in over 5 years.

Here are more details:

  • Cycle 24 began in early 2008, specifically January 4th.

  • During 2008 and 2009, there were almost NO sunspots, a very unusual situation that had not happened for almost a century. Due to the weak solar activity, galactic cosmic rays were at record levels.

  • The Sun’s record-breaking sleep ended in 2010. Sunspots started increasing slowly through 2011.

  • In February of 2012, sunspots peaked at 66.9, and then had a lull in activity until late 2013, when numbers began to slowly climb.

  • April of 2014 gave us a second peak at 81.9. Many cycles are double peaked, however, this is the first time the second peak was larger than the first peak (in February, 2012).

  • During 2015, monthly sunspots declined steady to their 50’s. During 2016, monthly sunspot numbers dropped to their 30’s and they just kept going down.

  • In 2017, monthly sunspot numbers declined to their 20’s. 

  • In 2018, sunspot numbers are expected to drop further into the teens.

  • September 6, 2017, brought an X9.3 solar flare—the most powerful recorded since at least 2008, when the current solar cycle began.

  • Solar eruptions are increasingly rare as the Sun heads toward the solar minimum.

An X9.3 class solar flare flashes in the middle of the Sun on Sept. 6, 2017. This image was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and shows a blend of light from the 171 and 131 angstrom wavelengths.

Daily and Monthly Sunspot Numbers

Credit: SILSO


What Does All This Mean?

Overall, quiet-to-average cycles, such as Cycle 24, normally mean a cooling pattern. In other words, temperatures become colder than they would have been otherwise. Sunspots are similar to a bathtub of lukewarm water; if you trickle in cold or hot water, it may take a while to notice the difference.

If this cooling phase on Earth, however, is offset by any warming caused by increasing greenhouse gases, they also raise the question of whether an eventual warming cycle could lead to more rapid warming on Earth than expected.


When is the Solar Minimum?

The minimum for this 11-year sunspot cycle is expected in 2019 to 2020. It doesn’t meant the Sun goes dormant; the solar activity just changes form.

During solar minimum, sunspots and solar flares subside. The Sun’s ultraviolet output will dramatically decrease and the upper atmosphere of the planet may cool, among other noticeable shifts.

Also, we can see the development of longtime coronal holes—vast regions in the Sun’s atmosphere where the magnetic field opens up and allows solar streams to escape the Sun; this can cause space weather effects such as auroras as well as disruptions to communications and navigation systems.

At a solar minimum, there can also be less atmospheric friction and “drag,” which could result in more space junk to watch out for.

There is nothing alarming expected; it’s just the normal ebb and flow of the Sun/Earth relationship!

Want to learn more about weather and space? Pick up your copy of The Old Farmer’s Almanac for this year’s long-range weather prediction! Look inside the pages of the latest Almanac.

Reader Comments

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Its hot!

The last few years, summers have been relatively mild. But this summer in North CA has been brutally hot! It is 105 right now at 1:30 pm!

Little Ice Age sunspots

How did you come by the number of sunspots during this time period? Thanks

solar activity

Have I a correlation between less solar flares and the weather being colder in America and England.The cold air pushing down from Canada and Russia.slightly counterclockwise?

There were many scientists

There were many scientists who studied the Sun’s energy output though there weren’t official records. British astronomer John Herschel (1792–1871) and French physicist Claude Pouillet (1790–1868) were some of the first who invented apparatus for measurements.

sun observtions

The article states that record keeping began in 1755. So how do you know how active the sun was in the dates you mention that came before 1755. Especially for the 12th and 13th centuries?

what is the difference

what is the difference between Coronal mass , solar flaire and sunspots?

solar definitions

Please see the article above for a brief description of each. The sun is made of gases that rotate, generating magnetic field - but various sections rotate differently. Hot gases bubble and burst through the mix, tangling and looping the “lines” of the magnetic field. Sunspots, which appear to us as dark patches, are magnetic storms on the surface. They occur where these intense magnetic loops poke through the Sun’s surface. Eventually, like an overstretched rubber band, each stressed magnetic field “breaks,” releasing tremendous energy and magnetically charged gases into space. Solar flares are bursts of radiation released, including visible light and x-rays. A solar flare from the Sun can reach Earth in about 8 minutes, and can last from a few minutes to several hours. Their strength is rated according to their brightness in x-ray wavelengths. Coronal mass ejection, or CMEs, are large clouds of gases and magnetized particles (plasma) thrown out from the Sun; if oriented in the proper direction, a CME can take 1 to 3 days to reach Earth. Flares and CMEs can occur at the same time, but not always. Solar flares are localized, usually occurring near a sunspot; CMEs are much larger events, and can sometimes be larger than the Sun. Both flares and CMEs, depending on strength and orientation, etc., have the potential to disrupt communication signals (satellites, radio, etc.) and cause power grid fluctuations. Both solar flares and CMEs can cause auroras.


I got more knowledge about in the solar cycle activity.

Just read your reply to my

Just read your reply to my earlier submission on solar cycle 24. However, you were silent on a question I posed: Any geophysical explanation for the existence of more or less, two distinct pronounced peaks during this cycle. An explanation, if any, would be appreciated.

I wonder why solar cycle 24

I wonder why solar cycle 24 reached its maximum in 2014, to me that was delayed by roughly two years. The peak was expected by 2012! Or, were there two peaks in this cycle? Any explanation(s) please?

Cycle peaks

Hi, Larry,

Sunspot cycle duration is 11 years on average and typically peak, one time, in the middle of that period. Not all cycles are the same, however. Solar Cycle 24 is now well into its declining phase after reaching double peaks in late 2011 and early 2014. Despite having two maxima, this cycle is the smallest in more than 100 years, and solar activity is expected to continue to decline from these low peaks toward its expected minima in early 2019.

For a glance at Cycle 25, click here:

Sunspot cycle and global climate

Since the lions share of energy that warms the earth comes from the sun any reduction of solar out put will cool the earth regardless of what we people do or don't do. The best thing mankind could do is get set for a moor glaciation and that includes having contingency plans for relocating nuclear fuels, waste and power stations in short order.

Very clear the explanations.

Very clear the explanations. Congratulations.

Solar Radiatons

I want to know about that

Dear Friends, Can someone

Dear Friends,

Can someone tell me what the pre-dawn northern California sky would have looked like the morning of the April 18, 1906 SF earthquake?

Was Mars unusually visible, or would there have been something else interesting in the sky?

Following a weak solar cycle, had there been a notable cooling phase?

I'd love to know anything specific. Thank you, Robin

Hi Robin,

Hi Robin,

According to our 1906 Old Farmer’s Almanac, Mars was an evening star until July 15, then it became a morning star for the rest of the year. The right-hand page for April 1906 says “Low tides” for April 18. The day before (April 17) Mercury was stationary. On the 19th, there was a conjunction of Saturn and the Moon. Last quarter Moon was on April 15 (ET). Moon runs high was on April 2; Moon runs low was on April 13. Moon at perigee on April 10; Moon at apogee on April 25. Hope this helps!

I recently came across the

I recently came across the book "Dark Winter" by John L Casey.
This book defines not only the short but the long (206 yr) cycle.
These cycles are interesting to me personalty as their results are outlined by my grandfathers as far back as the late 1600s.
I have a practical question: What will be the impact on solar panel power production as the result of a Solar Minimum?

Im thinking, by observing the

Im thinking, by observing the severity of the weather where im at, i noticed, we seem to have more intense whether patterns when a significant cme has made impact with earth

There is a distinct

There is a distinct possibility that as Uranium is used up, the geomagnetic forces are being disrupted and sulfuric acid and/or phosphoric acid is splattering about the sun mainly composed of glass.

Thus, Uranium use must be reviewed in this light all around the world.

I'm not sure where you got

I'm not sure where you got your Ph.D.

The Sun is not burning uranium. It's burning Hydrogen, converting it to Helium through the fusion process.

Elements stratify by density

Elements stratify by density and if what is known on earth is applied to the sun then an assumption can be made that the lightest known elements will be on the outer surface of a celestial body and the densest at its core. Uranium and other radioactive matter are the denser elements known to man, and hydrogen is the least dense so it would make sense that the sun has a super dense radioactive core and a foamy hydrogen surface. "Science" makes conclusions about the Sun based on what radiometric spectra its surface emits... Sadly this reasoning is as profound as if one were peering down on Earth through a space telescope and determining the engine under the hood of a parked car based on the color of its paint. All that to say there may be some substance to what Mr PHD has stated.

Electrical Universe

I'm not saying Dr. Uranium is correct but you referenced hydrogen and fusion in your theory what state do you propose the hydrogen is in before and after this fusion process??

I have always believed that

I have always believed that the activity of the sun is the primary driver of our weather. Blaming CO@ is truly a scam. It is only 400 PPM overall in our atmosphere. What we do not hear is how much is man-made. Scientists tell us it is 3% of the 400 PPM. The ocean absorbs about 40% of that so that leave us with our part being 1.8%. That 1.8% of man's part is globally. Now USA only accounts for 3% of the entire globe. That means our part in the USA has to be extremely minute. Somewhere around .0005% of man=made CO2. Dang. Did you know that the biggest polluters are China and India and they are exempt from Kyoto? It would cost us billions to correct our part by only 10%. To get an additional 10% it would cost us twice as much as the 1st 10%. We cannot afford that and we wouldn't make any measurable impact on global warming at all.We are wasting our time. And by the way, the recommended level for all plant life is between 1000 and 1500 PPM of CO2 which has been proven by 1000s of studies paid for by our government. We need more CO2, not less. Marijuana growers use a level of 1200 to 1500 PPM for ideal marijuana growing in a greenhouse.The ones who push global warming are the ones who smoke the most of this weed. And they want it perfectly grown, of course. I will be so glad when the mini ice age gets here. They will have to smoke in doors and create a lot of carbon monoxide. And that would be a good thing in this case.

I like how they break it down

I like how they break it down and show some examples.

Nasa and NoAA who have been

Nasa and NoAA who have been involved in changing temp readings that are now under review. You want us to believe them. Really.

No way is the carbon 13/12

No way is the carbon 13/12 ration a scam. The upper layers of the atmosphere are not showing enough heat content to point to solar activity as a major source of climate disruption. PLEASE read the NASA and IPCC reports. Forced global warming is real.

With the earth's continual

With the earth's continual global warming I believe the movie "The Day After Tommorrow" is in line with what is actually occurring now! The oceon is getting warmer and warmer and it is the barameter of our weather and if it is effected much more it will certainly trigger a mini ice age which the earth did have several hundred years ago for about 500 years that killed a lot of people.

Be careful of believing in

Be careful of believing in Hollywood End Of The World As We Know It disaster movies.
So... Gorebull Warming causes Global Cooling and and ice age. Okay....

As it gets's going to get cooler. Makes sense to me.... ha, ha, ha

Sun sun spots what

Sun sun spots what does it all mean in layman terms! First it was global warming and now its a mini ice age!Who is right??

That it is okay globe warming

That it is okay globe warming is true so that is what I think about that

Would a solar grid on earth

Would a solar grid on earth fare differently because of dc power than ac power?

I have discovered a striking

I have discovered a striking similarity between solar cycle' sets 1 - 6 and 20 - 24. At the time I am typing this we are at solar maximum in cycle 24 and it is strikingly obvious now that we are heading into a cooling trend not seen since the Dalton minimum. Take the two graph sets I mentioned and put one on top of the other to see for your self. Absolutely Ironic!

Is there any correlation

Is there any correlation between the quiet solar maximum (fewer solar flares than normal) in 2014 and the solar pole shift December 31, 2013?

Yes, P Bee.There is a direct

Yes, P Bee.There is a direct correlation. The solar magnetic reversals occur close to, some say "at," the solar maximum. Here is more information:

My father was an

My father was an astronautical research scientist for 60 years -inventing materials that would protect the space shuttle from burning up and freezing on it's voyage. Dinner conversation revolved around the facts of the solar flares and other space activity and their affect on the warming and cooling of the earth. It was the later part of the cold war days, so much of his research was secret, but surely NASA is able to make public the details of all of the years of research which explain in scientific terms the sun's afftects on our weather. Somehow we seem to only refer to the immediate lower atmosphere and neglect the giant weather maker in the sky! Someone needs to say " look up ,stupid, it's the sun!" Keep it simple, maybe people will begin to understand real science again.

I am doing a research paper

I am doing a research paper on the subject of the facts and myths behind climate change. I purchased a great book recently called, "The Cooling Stars" that speaks in detail over the sun's impact over our climate. When CME's decreases due to diminishing number of sunpots, this condition allows CGRs from space to ionize our atmosphere to enhance cloud formation. The more clouds there are the less light reachers the earth to cause radiative heating to occur. The converse is true too.


Thanks for sharing, Kwits. We

Thanks for sharing, Kwits. We addressed this is in the 2009 Almanac as a color-page feature.

We are headed into another

We are headed into another ice age. NOAA 10,000 year ice core analysis shows the subtle but incontrovertible evidence that we are sliding into a cold cycle that will establish a new ice age. The little "blip" of our AGW fantasy is just that, a little blip. See for yourself:

AGW may make you a little warmer and you may loose that beachfront house, but global cooling will starve you.

Yes I Observed a trend to

Yes I Observed a trend to cooler temps in the past decade and could see global warming should be off because of refletive properties of the atmospher in tandum w/ an assumtion tnat the sun is on an eliptical excuse me I mean the earth is on an eliptical orbit of sol , But! I am not sure where we are at this point moving farther away or closer? If I remember rightly it takes what ? 100,000 years to complete? Is there any effect occuring from this? Thank you

I am wondering where I can

I am wondering where I can find sun activity for a given month in terms I can understand. I am trying to find a pattern with my young son's behavior. Lunar has not proven any correlation and I am wondering about solar.

what about his diet? might

what about his diet? might want to start there

Who was counting Suns Spots

Who was counting Suns Spots in 1610? What sort of clarity would the elescope they use have? And what condition would their eyes be in after staring into the sun without any modern protection?

My work with Tellurics on buried pipelines suggests that Sun Spot activity and it's effect on the magnetic field of the earth is a more recent discovery.

Pipeline Guy, According to

Pipeline Guy,

According to the NASA/Marshall site:


"In 1610, shortly after viewing the sun with his new telescope, Galileo Galilei (or was it Thomas Harriot?) made the first European observations of Sunspots. Continuous daily observations were started at the Zurich Observatory in 1849 and earlier observations have been used to extend the records back to 1610."


space weather changes are based of sun activities

i am Mohammed i work as Researcher in Institute of Space Research and Aerospace(ISRA) Khartoum - Sudan
i want data for sunspots and sun activities from (2012 to 2017) and the suitable tools which use to it. and how can i do that? I need the method of analysis and the best models or statistic correlations.
hope to hear from you soon.

with hot regards

I posted this on my Facebook

I posted this on my Facebook page(Notes)

I do not see a date (year) on this article.

When did this occur, "Recently (201x?), NOAA scientists finally concluded that four factors determined global temperatures: carbon dioxide levels, volcanic eruptions, Pacific El Niño pattern, and the Sun's activity. "

Hi, Daniel, We consulted Bob

Hi, Daniel,

We consulted Bob Berman about the article that you cite from the Times Union. Here is his response:

It's all in my book, The Sun's Heartbeat -- now out in paperback. All the credits, and the people at NOAA who have come to this conclusion, and told me so in person during my research visits there, and the evidence behind it.
Best, Bob

Daniel, FYI, the book was published in 2011.

In looking further, we found an explanation on this page ( ), which, at the bottom, cites its date as 2007.

We provide the link above to shed light on your question. More information can be found by searching the Web using relevant key words.

We hope this helps.

Thanks for your response. I

Thanks for your response.

I just viewed your response (blog illiterate)

I believe the illusion is the flares must be large and have CMS's. I do not believe that. I do believe the cumulative effect of unidentified element "zzz" within M and X flares over a period of time has a cumulative effect on "attracted" protective atmospheric gases toward the sun-side of the earth, thus exposing the shadow-side to -350 temperature through transference. Thus the early freezes this Winter/Fall.

For the past five years, I have google weekly searched terms: “’solar flare’ climate” and have never seen this NASA article, TIMELY???? "SABER is cataloging the atmospheric response to solar forcing and is providing a solid baseline for examining long-term changes in the climatology of the upper atmosphere."

NASA Measures Impact of Huge Solar Flare on Earth's Atmosphere

"We don't know yet how these affect weather or climate -- likely there is not any direct effect," he said, "but there may be, over time, influences on ozone that affect climate."

"These results are very timely," said James Russell, SABER's principal investigator at Hampton University in Hampton, Va. "SABER is cataloging the atmospheric response to solar forcing and is providing a solid baseline for examining long-term changes in the climatology of the upper atmosphere."

The dates are listed

The dates are listed throughout the article. The picture at the top is of the 2013 almanac, which means this information is from this years almanac. Also the article talks about August 2013... Which means the article was written between now and then. This has been happening all along. El Nino is an annual occurrence, but according to the patterns it is catastrophic every 7 years. It just so happens that this 11th year cycle of the sunspots, and the 7th year el Nino, are occurring in the same year. This can only mean worldwide disasters.

Very good article. Global

Very good article. Global warming it's a big scam.

No... Global warming is not a

No... Global warming is not a 'big scam' - imho, the accepted view is incorrect in some important areas, but generally we are seeing a change in the global climate towards warmer temperatures, and this article does not imply that either. If you read carefully you will see it say that climate change has been 'mitigated' by the temporary low output from the sun and has 'bought us time'.
In fact I think looking at the very cool summer of 2013, it has done more than offset the slight warming due to climate change, it has started to switch into a mini ice age similar to Maunder minimum - I am quite happy for my name to be used to describe the 2013 "Robinson minimum" if you like :)

I believe that there is a latency of around a year in the Earth's atmosphere which means that normally we don't even feel the effect, but due to the last quite weak maximum, and the last extended minimum, we are feeling a very cold summer across all of the northern hemisphere. I live in the southern hemisphere, and I can assure you the effect is global, our winter is starting out very cool also.

You have failed to

You have failed to realize/recall from high school science. The weather is driven by the sun. Daily weather by the sun. This has been known for decades, I heard it as matter of fact in the 60s. Extremes in weather are driven by Solar flares and sunspot activities. If you do a little more study, you will learn that the 3.7/10,000 ppm of CO2 actually reflects more harmful solar radiation than is reflected back in the narrow spectrum of infra red relfected back. This was identified and proven around 1900. In fact, they proved over a 100 years ago that the CO2 100% reflection of this narrow band of infra red is reflected back at 25% concentration. That increasing the concentration does not change the energy level. You cannot reflect back more than 100%... Thus the premise that increasing CO2 would increase global temps. The admitted to .9deg F over the last 100 yrs does cannot be argued is a result of CO2 elevation.
Another interesting fact, many of the scientist from varying backgrounds who originally signed onto the global warming theory have apologized and now assert the theory was poorly based. Even this year, the original NASA scientist that proposed this "theory" has now been peer reviewed by NASA scientist that his data was faulty and conclusion as well. They also were the ones that said this low level of CO2 was responsible for reflecting harmful radiation, similar to what the Ozone does. There too often is more. NPR is not a good resource... other than vague siting of exaggerated assertions

Dear "You have failed

Dear "You have failed to":
Question: How does an optically clear gas like CO2 relect light? We know that it absorbs infra-red light in the mid IR at about 2200 cm-1. This is a narrow and intense absorption peak. It probably absorbs in the UV because is has sigma and pi bonded electrons (4 each) in the C=O double bonds. It also has 8 non-bonding electrons (4 on each oxygen). These have excited states that require energy from light in the UV region of the spectra. (I am not familiar with its near or far IR spectra) However, it is optically clear to visible light. CO2 does not reflect light. (If I am wrong, please provide the mechanism) However, it can absorb and re-emit UV light as the excited electrons drop back down to the ground state (this is certainly not reflection). This, however, is not true of IR frequencies. Since IR electromagnetic radiation causes polar bonds to vibrate the energy is discipated and not re-emitted. That is why in IR, one can talk about transmitance and absorbance, but never emission spectra.
Lastly, ozone does not reflect any light either. It aborbs UV light in the process of undergoing a multi-step chain reaction cycle called the Chapman Cycle. This energy is used as activation energy in the process.

maybe global warming as a

maybe global warming as a result of CO2 is a scam after all!!

new NASA research says CO2 is a global COOLER, reflecting more solar energy during the day than it retains at night

Rev. 16:8,9 says That the Sun

Rev. 16:8,9 says That the Sun will flare up and scorch the earth. I have read the Bible over the past 40 years and it does have astronomical data that is exact and correct, as they have the history of the mesopotamians and babylonians early observations of everything that moved in the heavens and there timing ect... so as also these luner eclipses as recent as today which are being called bloodmoons! Or the so called star that moved over where Jesus was born and the wise men who saw the sign or star of the king to be born! I find this a frightening thing to here scientists say they expect a possible direct hit on the earth with a solar flare, It would destroy the power grid and I can't even count the numerus technologies effected ! mankind would suffer and all living things for that matter!Like in the movie terminator sarah conner says youll need a sun tan lotion with a uv protection of 10 million ! I do have a question for anyone reading this . If there was a solar flare to hit earth would it heat the earth ? and if so but how many degrees ? and could it cause the ocean to steam and make a cannopy of clouds ? and would thoese clouds cool the earth?and would it become darker and cause less food to grow? NOHOMEHERE



If we understand solar cycles

If we understand solar cycles ultimately determine weather and there is a possible coming mini ice age is a "carbon tax" advisable for any reason other than political?

I love the great info

I love the great info here..thank you orbs of light. Wax and wane cycles flow in conformity to all involved..where is the wax and wane of sirius a&b above?..have we passed the harmful radiation of that stellar dog encounter..or is its fifty year switching creating seventy year wobbles in our zone

I wanted to see actual

I wanted to see actual pictures of sunspot activity before, during and after the Earthquake in Japan last April, 2012. Is their a site ? I've googled similar questions.

To see sunspots and other

To see sunspots and other solar activity on a certain day, or range of days, you might try the following site from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory:

Input the date range that you'd like to see. Select the type of instrument, such as the "HMI Intensitygram (orange)," the "AIA 171 (gold)," or the "Composite AIA 171, HMI Magnetogram." Click submit. You will get a movie of all images for your range, showing sun activity.

You might also be interested in our article on sunspots:

Hope this helps!

i have for many years gone to

i have for many years gone to space weather and the earthquake and volcano usgs real time maps...i was watching have been, and still am. i can't see a connection on the number of spots, the solar wind speed is always high when the quakes happen. maybe a earth reaction to the suns encounter with our atmosphere.

Has anyone produced a chart

Has anyone produced a chart of solar cycles that parallels weather trends in the central United States? I thought I had heard of such a thing but haven't found it.

So are these solar flares at

So are these solar flares at their peak in 2012? I wonder if that is related to the Myans? So we are in our second year of drought NE Ok, is the drought related to the solar flares Xstorms? Because I am very tired of the drought I am a farmer Thanks

sunspots are supports to peak

sunspots are supports to peak 2013?

I regard the solar cycle 24

I regard the solar cycle 24 is weak in terms of sunspots only. It is these that give us the extra UV and X-rays which affect climate. Of course, it may not be weaker in some other less important respects.

How can you possibly say that

How can you possibly say that the solar cycle is weak? You report on the X flares (3), and fact that there has been 0 sun spotless days in'12 , or that people who live in high lat. say they have never seen such active and continuous auroras should convince you. also I live in MI and it has been the warmest, no snow, I can ever remember(not over yet I know). But if you still must convince yourself I have hard evidence. Just visit the solar dynamics observatory website-they have a cool tool-under the 'data' heading go to access more data then go to*LMSAL iSolsearch* you can use the tool to research any day or span of days to see all kinds of different data regarding the sun. Just compare Nov 2011-now with 2000-01, you will clearly see how cool this tool is and I hope in the April update you do not say WEAK!!!!

Our reports come from NASA,

Our reports come from NASA, NOAA, and SDO. Thus far, March has certainly been active with Sunspot AR1429. This makes sense as the next solar maximum is expected in the 2013-2014 time frame. In terms of the overall cycle, NASA experts believe it will be a "below-average cycle" with less than your historically normal number of sunspots. However, you are correct in saying that "weak" is not an accurate description. Even a below-average cycle is capable of producing severe space weather.

The sunspot numbers are 1/2

The sunspot numbers are 1/2 of those from a normal cycle. An extended cycle is also a very weak one. Similarly, the solar zonal flow for cycle 25 has yet to appear. This means a very long cycle 24.

The sunspots are much shorter

The sunspots are much shorter in duration. Normally, sunspots last about 30 days. This cycle, they seem to last about 3 days. So, it is a much weaker cycle. This does not mean that the solar flares are weaker, just the overall sunspot count and duration. Much weaker than the previous cycles. Don't seem to hear much about this aspect of it.

This solar cycle has actually

This solar cycle has actually been historically weak. While the sunspot counts may be good data for certain aspects or heliophysics, when it comes to actual activity coming from these regions, solar cycle 24 shares more in common with the Maunder Minimum than more active periods, as during the 1940's. The Maunder Minimum is named for the scientist who was observing it's onset - which began with sunspots diminishing and vanishing as they rotated to the earth-facing side of the solar disk. This has been the major feature of this cycle as well - no large, magnetically complex sunspot has made much noise on the earth side of the disk.

Now, the still-theoretical science studying how this affects weather is one of the most fascinating subjects there is -- it will make you think of the earth and the sun and their connection in a much different way. When we have weak solar activity with no strong flaring, the earth is being bombarded with fast solar wind from coronal hole streams, and our atmospher at all layers experiences a pushback -- quite literally, it shrinks, and the tension between layers leads to unusual phenomena. Closest to the ground, where the troposphere and statosphere are being pushed, the tops of thunderheads emit types of lightning called sprites, elves, fairies; which reveal a jellyfish-resembling network of glowing red/blue electric plasma high in the sky. They are truly an ominous sight, as are undulatus asperatus clouds - cloud formations that look like rough waves in an upside down sea of grey.

In all three lower layers of the atmosphere, one can see gravity waves. These are symmetrical, patterned lines that exist in the clouds in the troposphere and stratosphere and have been linked to increased risk of tornados development by a NASA project called GRITs - GRavity Wave Interactions with Tornados. In the mesosphere, these waves appear as a large bulls-eye shaped pattern visible in faint aurora, or in airglow.

In the magnetosphere, we see weakening. In fact, if the earth does not receive enough flare radiation, the magnetosphere simply weakens and more and more outer cosmic radiation comes in through the poles. When we are hit with an energetic flare, the particles become heated and excited, and the magnetosphere -- and all lower-atmospheric layers, can breath a sigh of relief. Weather is often chaotic during periods of low flaring as atmospheric collapse causes an increase in the strength and number of pressure convergences.

Here is an example of solar effects on weather: today is September 5th, 2014. The earth, a dipole magnet, is returning to a neutral axis position - not a tilted position as winter or summer. This means that we are going to be more affected by solar activity. We have not only seen strong convergence in the Midwest for days following a transequatorial coronal hole of moderate power, but we also saw a raise in seismicity - the solar pole experienced instability and we observed volcanic activity in Iceland, then Papua, and Iceland again as the charged particles streaming from the sun waned back to positive charge. There were an extreme increase of gravity waves and several instances of undulatus clouds in Iowa, mesospheric gravity waves photographed in a South Dakota, and stormy weather everywhere in the Midwest.

Expect to see activity on the sun rise for the new month or so, and then begin cycle 24's final descent towards minimum, where surprisingly some of the strongest flares occur.

My hypothesis on why we may not see much flaring is an increase in coronal hole size and occurrence, which could be due to so many outside influences it's hard to even fathom. When coronal holes are on the sun, there is less hot gas to enter the vortex of active regions and therefore less to be ejected,

This is one of the best

This is one of the best articles we have read on solar activity and long-range weather. Very complete and 100% accurate. Indeed, the developments of 2011 are confirmation of fading spots according to L&P theory, so the American Astronomical Society apparently thinks it may be worse than Dalton, calling it a possible second Maunder Minimum! Solar cycle 25 and beyond could be greatly delayed or not happen at all! "If we are right, this could be the last solar maximum we'll see for a few decades," Hill said. "That would affect everything from space exploration to Earth's climate."

As we wait for the 3rd brutal winter in a row the question is "How much worse will they get?" Sound the alarm to all the world: LITTLE ICE AGE is coming. In another stunning development, the sun had no sunspots yesterday! The whole world should stand in awe. I assure you that here at Mor Electric Heating we are VERY closely following how bad the winters will get.

I agree and wonder if this

I agree and wonder if this spring,the coldest I can remember,is related to this.I'm not a fan of cold weather and hope not but it's looking like it will be colder the rest of my life.