I am sure most everyone has heard something today about the “largest solar flare in 5 years” to hit earth and the mass chaos that will follow. Turns out, a solar storm struck Earth’s magnetic field early Thursday morning, delivering “a pretty good shock” but not causing any of the geomagnetic disruptions that scientists feared.
We are currently on the upward swing of the sunspot cycle, but the latest estimates don’t show anything to be concerned about.
The current prediction for Sunspot Cycle 24 gives a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 59 in early 2013. We are currently over three years into Cycle 24. The current predicted size makes this the smallest sunspot cycle in about 100 years.
This graph shows what we went through back in the early 2000’s, for any of you that remember or were running GPS that long ago, and the prediction for the next peak in early 2013 doesn’t come anywhere near where the last cycle peaked.
We may continue to hear stories about space weather, and it may have some impact on the quality of our GPS signals, but overall it looks to be minimal and short lived.