By Paul Dorian – Re-Blogged From Perspecta Weather
The sun continues to be very quiet and it has been without sunspots this year 69% of the time as we approach what is likely to be one of the deepest solar minimums in a long, long time. In fact, all indications are that the upcoming solar minimum may be even quieter than the last one which was the deepest in nearly a century. In addition, there are now forecasts that the next solar cycle, #25, will be the weakest in more than 200 years. Even weak solar cycles, however, can produce significant solar storms. In fact, it was this same time of year back in 1859 when a super solar storm – now known as the “Carrington Event” – took place during another weak solar cycle (#10). The event has been named for the British astronomer, Richard Carrington, as he observed from his own private observatory the largest solar flare which caused a major coronal mass ejection (CME) to travel directly toward Earth. Fortunately, solar storms of this magnitude are quite rare as it would very likely have a much more damaging impact on today’s world than it did in the 19th century.
A modern solar flare recorded December 5, 2006, by the X-ray Imager onboard NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite. The flare was so intense that it actually damaged the instrument that took the picture. Researchers believe Carrington’s solar flare was much more energetic than this one.