Why So Much Solar  Outpacing Predictions.

Activity? Sun May Be

It's no coincidence

 that the headlines have been full of solar flares and storms: Solar cycle 25, as astronomers call it, is now well underway.

Solar activity, which space weather

experts measure by the number of visible sunspots, rises and falls on a cycle that lasts roughly 11 years from minimum to minimum, although one cycle can be as short as nine years or as long as 13.

The sun's new cycle is about

two years in and should peak around 2025; although cycle 25 is expected to be stronger than its predecessor, it is still predicted to be feebler than average.

Mark Miesch, a space weather

observer at the University of Colorado Boulder, told "There's a few predictions that [cycle 25] might be strong, but we'll wait and see,"

Looking at the progression

 of the latest trend line, cycle 25's intensity might seem to be higher than expected.

Current trends point to the sun

 having about 125 sunspots when cycle 25 peaks. That's more than the 115 sunspots visible at the peak of cycle 24, but still much lower than the 180 of cycle 23

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