Monday, June 14, 2021

A Kickstart for Cycle 25?

Solar physicist Scott
McIntosh (Nat'l
Center for Atmos-
pheric Research photo)
The solar scientist who's been bucking the tide of pessimism from most of his colleagues and predicting a huge sunspot cycle (see News Bytes, Sept. 2020 issue) continues to see lots and lots of spots in the future. According to, Scott McIntosh of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, along with colleague Bob Leamon of the University of Maryland/Baltimore County, are predicting that a "terminator event," in which oppositely charged magnetic fields collide near the sun's equator and annihilate each other, will be occurring soon. This is a normal occurrence between solar cycles, they say, but the key to predicting the strength of the new cycle lies in the timing between terminator events – the longer the time between them, the weaker the new cycle will be. They are predicting a short 10 years between the previous terminator event and the upcoming one, and McIntosh says, "If the Terminator Event happens soon, as we expect, new Solar Cycle 25 could have a magnitude that rivals the top few since record-keeping began."

Asked about the fact that most other solar scientists feel the new cycle will be a weak one, like its processor, McIntosh replied, "What can I say? We're heretics!"