Less flares, eruptions from Sun this year

Manasi Saraf Joshi
Thursday, 9 August 2018

As per the Solar Influences Data Analysis Centre, (SIDAC) Belgium, this year is the solar minimum year (24) cycle year and thus there will be less number of flares and eruptions that occur from the sun.  

Pune: As per the Solar Influences Data Analysis Centre, (SIDAC) Belgium, this year is the solar minimum year (24) cycle year and thus there will be less number of flares and eruptions that occur from the sun.  

Explaining the phenomenon, Head (Admin), Udaipur Solar Observatory Outreach Programme Professor Nandita Srivastava said, “The sun does not disappear during this phenomena but the spots which are dark (low temperature compared to other parts of the sun) and have a high magnetic field, are less in 
number.” 

This means that the activity of the sun is low (if there are no spots) and hence we are approaching the minimum phase of the solar cycle. It is a well-known fact that the sun has an 11-year activity cycle and it goes through a maximum and minimum phase. During the phase when there is no sunspot we say the sun is ‘quiet’ when there are many spots such as during maximum we say the sun is ‘active,’ because in this phase lots of flares and eruption from the sun occur,” she said.

Meanwhile, according to SIDAC, the latest observations there were C-class flares in past 24 hours. The sun was spotless and solar activity was expected to remain at very low levels. 

According to the observations made by scientists world over after analysing the data from SIDAC, it was noted that there were no sunspots for nearly 21 days in July, which was a decade class event. The same phenomenon was observed by the scientists’ world over in 2009. 

What is a sunspot?

Solar minimum is a normal part of the solar cycle and every 11 years or so, sunspot production sputters. Dark cores that produce solar flares and CMEs vanish from the solar disk, leaving the sun blank for a longer period of time. 

These quiet spells have been coming with regularity since the sunspot cycle was discovered in 1859. 
However, not all solar minima are alike.

How does this affect us on Earth?

The biggest change brought by solar minimum may be cosmic rays. High energy particles from deep space penetrate the inner solar system with greater ease during periods of low solar activity. 

Allegations by a former scientist

Interestingly,  according to former Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) scientist Kirankumar Johar, the solar minima affect the Indian monsoon. 

“The flares weaken the southwest monsoon as if the temperature over Indian land and sea region, it affects monsoon,” the former IITM scientist said.

However,  AK Srivastav, Scientist ‘F’, Head, Climate Monitoring and Analysis Group, India Meteorological Department (IMD), Pune said that while predicting the monsoon forecast the sun is not considered.

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