Sun spots disappear as solar cycle starts to trough – but is a mini ice-age on the way?

by | Jun 29, 2016 | Satellites, Science | 0 comments

The historical record of sun spot activity which has been recorded since the 17th century is regarded as a reliable guide of solar activity. The 11-year solar cycle is now heading for its low point, due in three years. As activity declines so does the number of sunspots and the sun became “blank” (devoid of any sun spots) for several days in June.

This low activity will have an effect on the Earth’s atmosphere. High activity yields more high energy charged particles interacting with the Earth’s atmosphere which tends to expand it while low activity (in this case) does the opposite. Thus a contracted atmosphere will allow for lower drag to be encountered by satellites in low Earth orbit, potentially extending their lives.

Solar activity is also thought to influence rainfall patterns with high activity causing some river levels to rise. So in this case levels may fall.  However, the effect the low in the 11-year cycle will be short term, lasting, at most, a few years until solar activity starts rising again.

However, of more concern to scientists is that the “peaks” of high activity in the 11-year solar cycle are becoming less powerful as the Sun’s magnetic field changes, leading some to suggest that we may be heading for another mini-ice age as happened in the 17th and 18th centurys during the “Maunder minimum”. Others are also concerned that such a cooling could mask the underlying long term warning trend that greenhouse gases are having.

 

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

Small orders: Satellite Vu orders second sat from SSTL, Northrop Grumman gets ROOSTER order, Draper gets NASA lunar farside experiment contract

A series of small spacecraft and experiment orders were announced in July. Satellite Vu has ordered the second in its Read more

CAPSTONE suffers communications woes as it approaches Moon…but they were only temporary

NASA has reported a serious communications issue with its CAPSTONE mission, which was intended to test an orbit for future Read more

Airbus UK receives order for FORUM – the ninth ESA Earth Explorer mission

ESA has selected Airbus UK, Stevenage, to lead the FORUM construction project, according to an announcement on 28 June. The Read more

Electron launches NASA funded CAPSTONE mission to test Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit planned for Lunar Gateway

Rocket Lab successfully launched an Electron rocket from Māhia Peninsula, New Zealand, at 0955 GMT on 28 June, to an Read more

Roscosmos “hijacks” German eRosita instrument on Spektr-RG astronomy satellite then Rogozin demands far worse

Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency and conglomerate, has taken what is thought to be the illegal step of unilaterally ordering the Read more

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) suffers main mirror segment damage after micrometeoroid strike

NASA has reported that a micrometeoroid strike has caused some damage to the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The largest Read more

China to launch an asteroid deflection mission in 2025 – but is it safe?

As part of its planetary defence strategy, China plans to launch an asteroid impactor mission to deflect the orbit of Read more

Solar/Geomagnetic storm knocks out 38 out of 49 Starlink satellites from February launch (Updated & Revised)

SpaceX has admitted a new blow to its Starlink low Earth orbit-based communications satellite constellation. There were already doubts about Read more

Categories

Archives