José Manuel NievesSEGUIRMadrid Updated: Save Send news by mail electrónicoTu name *

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it Was last Friday, may 29. Totally unexpectedly, the Sun launched a strong flare, the most powerful is recorded from October 2017. Despite the fact that it occurred just above a group of sunspot that are not yet visible (the Sun’s rotation will soon see on your left side), the probe SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory), yes you could see the “fireworks” that were taking place just above them.

The flare of M class, was too weak to cause an alert of the Prediction Center Space Weather from the NOAA, the agency climate of the united States. But after several months without hardly any sunspots, and a virtually null, the experts closely monitor the phenomenon to see if these spots grow and mark the beginning of a new cycle of eleven years.

solar flares are bursts of radiation that originate in sunspots, areas temporarily dark and relatively cool on the surface of the sun that have very strong magnetic fields. The scientists classified the flare strong in three categories: C, M, and X. Each class is 10 times more powerful than the one below it. The flares M, then, are 10 times stronger than the C, but 10 times weaker than the event of class X.

Change of cycle

The flare in question, therefore, is of medium intensity, and in addition was not emitted in the direction of Earth, so you will not have any effect on our planet. But the sudden burst could be the sign that the Sun is moving into a more active phase of its activity cycle of 11 years. If that were the case, the current cycle, number 24 (that is the amount of solar cycles studied up to now by science) could have come to its end.

Although it might also not be so. In fact, it will need still some months of observation to know for sure.

we Know that the Sun continuously passes through alternate periods of calm and activity in cycles that repeat every 11 years. As your activity increases or decreases, also increases and decreases the number of dark spots on its surface. For this reason, meteorologists, spatial looking for, and have continually the number of sunspots, which allows them to establish at what point of your cycle is the Sun in each moment.

This new group of sunspots, so, it could be marking the end of the cycle 24 and the start of the 25. But to be sure that the Sun has already gone through its time of minimum activity and are available to start a new cycle you need to, at least, six months of observations and counting of spots.

In part, this is because our star is extremely variable, and the fact that the number of sunspots increase and decrease in a given month does not mean that the trend is going to keep also in the following month. Therefore, data are needed over the long term to get an idea of at what point of activity is the Sun. With the current data in hand, the only thing that can be said with certainty is that during the month of may, there have been more sunspots than during the previous months. Lack of knowing whether that trend will continue or if, on the contrary, will return to reign the calm one, sign that we would still be in the cycle 24.