|NASA's Dr. David Hathaway predicts|
that solar Cycle 24 will peak in mid-
2013 at around 75.
In a talk titled "The Sky is NOT Falling," Hathaway explained why predictions of "killer flares" capable of causing massive disruptions are not likely to occur -- mostly because of too few sunspots. At the same time, he said, predictions of future cycles with no sunspots -- based on observations to date -- are premature because the "missing" activity is associated with the peak of the sunspot cycle, which is not yet here.
Hathaway's current prediction is that Cycle 24 will peak at a maximum of around 75 in mid-2013, the lowest peak in the past century. And while he says it is too early to write off Cycle 25 completely, he feels it could be even weaker than the current cycle. He admits, though, that "every time you come up with a model, you find a problem and you have to go back to the drawing board."