Interesting article at the Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, home to Kitt Peak and other observatories). (h/t to Ric Werme)
Sunspot cycle more dud than radiation flood
By Dan Sorenson
arizona daily star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 05.19.2008
Many solar scientists expected the new sunspot cycle to be a whopper, a prolonged solar tantrum that could fry satellites and raise hell with earthly communications, the power grid and modern electronics.
But there’s scant proof Sunspot Cycle 24 is even here, let alone the debut of big trouble.
So far there have been just a couple minor zits on the face of the sun to suggest the old cycle is over and the new one is coming.
The roughly 11-year cycle of sunspot activity should have bottomed out last year, the end of Cycle 23 and the beginning of Cycle 24. That would have put the peak in new sunspot activity around 2012.
But a dud sunspot cycle would not necessarily make it a boring period, especially for two solar scientists with the Tucson-based National Solar Observatory.
Two years ago, William Livingston and Matt Penn wrote a paper for the journal Science predicting that this could not only be a dud sunspot cycle, but the start of another extended down period in solar activity. It was based on their analysis of weakening sunspot intensity and said sunspots might vanish by 2015.
The paper, rejected in peer review, was never published by Science. Livingston said he’s OK with the rejection.
“I accept what the reviewers said,” Livingston said. “‘If you are going to make such statement, you had better have strong evidence.’ ”
Livingston said their projections were based on observations of a trend in decreasingly powerful sunspots but reviewers felt it was merely a statistical argument.
Read the entire article here at this link