Is another major sunspot cycle coming?


Sure. We are already half way through Cycle 23. It will reach a maximum sometime between 2000 and 2001, just when all sorts of other things are about to 'click in'. With nearly 1000 high-tech satellites in orbit then, compared to the 100 or so low-tech ones during the last peak, wew could be in for some very rough times as satellites are affected by increases solar storms. Also, most of the space walks to assemble the Space Station are scheduled for this 'solar maximum' period, and there are some severe health risks for the astronauts caught outside their space craft during a solar flare...these can be lethal.

The next cycle coming is Cycle 24, but that won't start until around the year 2007.


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All answers are provided by Dr. Sten Odenwald (Raytheon STX) for the
NASA IMAGE/POETRY project.