Reaching the Peak of the Solar Cycle

(Photo by Space.com)

Solar flares earlier this month were cause for concern, as we approach the peak of the solar cycle in 2013. This cycle started about five years ago and what has been happening is we’ve been seeing the sun ramp up in activity. What happens in the peak of the cycle is that there are disturbances in the sun’s magnetic field. When the disturbances get to be very intense we should be more concerned about how that might effect our electronic systems on Earth, especially in our modern society where everything has a computer in it. However, let’s not assume that the Earth has no protection. The Earth has its own magnetic field, which redirects these particles away from the Earth. Even though we have been monitoring sun spot activity for a century or more, we don’t know how intense it will get. Also, don’t miss what’s in the night sky this week. All this and more on this week’s Sky Talk.[audio: st20120319.mp3]

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.