Sunspot Cycles!

Just like Earth has its 'Hurricane' season in the Fall when these enormous storms are more common, the Sun goes through a cycle of producing storms. Below is a plot of the sunspot cycles since 1750. On the vertical axis it shows the number of sunspots that were seen each year on the Sun. The horizontal axis shows the year since 1750 AD.

Study this plot, and then answer the questions to learn more about solar activity!

  1. Between 1755 and 1995, how many full cycles have there been?
  2. What is the average number of years between each cycle based on your answer to Question 1?
  3. List the years when there was a sunspot maximum. How many years apart are the peaks (called the sunspot maxima) in the sunspot cycle?
  4. List the years when there was a sunspot minimum. How many years apart are the valleys (called the sunspot minima) in the sunspot cycle?
  5. Which year had the largest number of sunspots?
  6. Which sunspot cycle had the smallest number of sunspots during its maximum?
  7. What fraction of the sunspot maxima since 1750 have been higher than the one in 2000-2002?
  8. When do you predict we are likely to have sunspot maxima in the 21st Century?
  9. When you celebrate your 70th birthday? Will it be during a sunspot maximum or minimum?