Saturday, February 24, 2024

Image of the Sun from Solar Orbiter (left Feb 2021 and right Oct 2023

ESA's Solar Orbiter has taken regular images of the Sun to track the progress as we head towards the peak of the current solar cycle.

Two recently released images from February 2021 and October 2023 show how things are really picking up as we head toward solar maximum.

The Sun is a great big ball of plasma, electrically charged gas, which has the amazing property that it can move a magnetic field that may be embedded within. As the Sun rotates, the magnetic field gets dragged around with it but, because the Sun rotates faster at the equator than at the poles, the field lines get wound up tighter and tighter.

Under this immense stressing, the field lines occasionally break, snap or burst through the surface of the Sun and when they do, we see a sunspot. These dark patches on the visible surface of the Sun are regions where denser concentrations of solar material prohibit heat flow to the visible surface giving rise to slightly cooler, and therefore darker patches on the Sun.

At the beginning of the cycle, at solar minimum in 2019, there was relatively little activity and only a few sunspots. Since then, things have been slowly increasing. The image from February 2021 showed a reasonably quiet Sun but an image taken in October last year shows that things are, dare I say, hotting up!

The maximum of this cycle is expected to occur in 2025 which supports theories that the period of maximum activity could arrive a year earlier.


  1. Sounds like we are going to have some extreme weather patterns the next 2 years.

  2. Proverbs 3:5 NASB
    Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.

  3. Acts 2:19 NIV — I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke.
    God's gonna use His creation to show us His displeasure at our disbedience

  4. As politics is downstream of culture -
    So too is weather is downstream of climate and climate is downstream of Solar output.
    We experience "weather" in a daily way,
    Climate comes at us in decades and centuries.
    Solar output in tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of years.
    Ps 19:1-4
    The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
    Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
    They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
    Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.

  5. OK, now what does all that mean?

    1. Psalm 115:3
      Our God is in the heavens;
      he does all that he pleases.

  6. Climate irregularities/change is natural, not caused.

  7. Don't you know.....all your gas stoves and lawnmowers are causing this......

  8. Take no note of this has nothing to do with our climate...Now cow flatulence, on the other hand....

  9. Any excuse for government tyranny.

  10. Not just weather, I seem to remember some evidence that volcanic activity increases at such times.

    Interesting times?

  11. We'll get another Carrington Event sooner or later, and it will take a decade (or more) to repair the electrical grid. May you live in interesting times.

  12. I put myself on an email list with the Australian solar observatory many years ago. Needless to say, what was usually an email that showed up once or twice a month has turned into at least five to eight a day over the last twelve months. What is of particular interest is the intensity of the solar flares over the last two weeks. Never been emailed about an X class flare until the past 6 months, maybe seen five of them but got 3 over the last 2 weeks. They do seem to correlate with some unusual weather taking place, good northern lights at the very least.