Sun breaks 20+ year record for sunspots produced, raising major concern from scientists

The Sun's solar cycle is picking up some speed toward its most active period as the Sun has broken a 20+ year record for most sunspots produced in a month.

1 minute & 37 seconds read time

Scientists from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA are observing the Sun closely as it reaches its solar maximum.

Sun breaks 20+ year record for sunspots produced, raising major concern from scientists 1652

New reports indicate that the Sun has broken a record that was set in 2002, and that record is for the most sunspots produced in a single month. Researchers have announced that the Sun produced more than 160 sunspots in June, the highest number of sunspots produced in a single month in 21 years. The Sun is currently going through its 25th solar cycle, and according to reports, researchers estimate the solar maximum, the period of the cycle where the Sun has the most sunspots, will arrive in a year's time.

Why is this important? Sunspots have the potential to release solar flares, which can hit Earth and impact critical infrastructure such as satellite communications, GPS, radio communications, and even electrical grids. The strong magnetic fields produced by these flares can cause satellite operators to lose track of their satellites, which could potentially lead to a catastrophic domino effect of space junk.

Notably, a solar flare from one of these flares that occurred on July 2 knocked out radio communications over much of the western U.S. and the Pacific Ocean.

Sun breaks 20+ year record for sunspots produced, raising major concern from scientists 25

"In the largest storms, the errors in the orbital trajectories become so large that, essentially, the catalog of orbital objects is invalidated. The objects can be tens of kilometers away from the positions last located by radar. They are essentially lost, and the only solution is to find them again with radar," said Tom Berger, a solar physicist and director of the Space Weather Technology Center at the University of Colorado.

"Since Cycle 25 is odd, we might expect the most effective events to happen after the maximum, in 2025 and 2026. This is because how the poles of the sun flip every 11 years. You want the pole of the sun in the same orientation compared to the poles of Earth so that then causes the most damage and the best coupling from the solar wind through Earth's magnetic field," said NASA solar physics research scientist Robert Leamon to

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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