The new solar cycle, Solar Cycle 25, officially began in December 2019, according to an announcement by the Solar Cycle 25 Prediction Panel of international experts. Every 11 years, the sun completes a solar cycle of calm and stormy activity and begins a new one. It's important because space weather caused by the sun - eruptions like solar flares and coronal mass ejection events - can impact the power grid, satellites, GPS, airlines, rockets, and astronauts in space.
Solar Cycle 24 was the fourth smallest cycle on record and the weakest cycle in 100 years. While Solar Cycle 24 was below average, it wasn't without risk. An epic storm erupted from the sun in July 2012, but missed colliding with Earth.
·It will peak in 2025 and will generally be a less active cycle.
·The sun's activity follows an 11-year cycle, with the star moving constantly from quiet to active and back to the same cycle. These periods of activities are known as solar weather.
·As the Sun heads into its new cycle, it could lead to dramatic events on the surface- giant explosions such as coronal mass ejections or solar flares. That can spew light, energy, and solar material into space.
Sunspots, which are dark spots on the sun, help scientists track the sun’s activity. They are the origin point for the explosive flares and ejection events that release light, solar material and energy into space. During the peak of solar activity in the last cycle, 120 sunspots were tracked. About 115 sunspots are predicted for the peak of this new cycle. In comparison, an above-average active cycle would include more than 200 sunspots.
NASA: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration was established in 1958 as an independent agency of the U.S. federal government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and space research.