Monday, June 5, 2017

Fake News? ARRL's Misleading Headline on Future of Sunspot Cycles

"Our Sun's 11-Year Magnetic Cycle Destined to Disappear," read the headline on an item in the June 1 edition of the ARRL Letter, leading to an initial response of alarm amid a weak Cycle 24 and talk of a possible "Maunder minimum" with virtually no sunspots in the near future. But rather than a new prediction of doom and gloom for sunspot-hungry hams, the article actually held out new hope for future solar cycles. 
In a new paper in the journal Solar Physics, titled "Magnetic Evolution and the Disappearance of Sun-like Activity Cycles," solar scientists Travis Metcalfe and Jennifer van Saders reinterpret earlier data to conclude that while we are in the beginning of a "transitional phase" that may lead to longer cycles, they will not disappear altogether for at least 800 million years! Hardly a cause for concern for anyone reading this in 2017…