Solar activity increases and causes some radio blackouts in Asia and Australia


A few days ago a solar flare caused some radio blackouts in Asia and Australia. However, we are still far from the expected maximum solar activity for July 2025.

Sun on April 25 in ultraviolet and
The Sun in ultraviolet and optical on April 25.NASA/SDO
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A few days ago a solar flare caused some radio blackouts in Asia and Australia. However, we are still far from the expected maximum solar activity for July 2025.

Surya Jagran

The previous period of low solar activity, which lasted more than a year, caused some concern. It was also thought that a very long period of solar hibernation could have some effect on Earth’s climate.

However, during the last weeks, the Sun has been recovering a level of activity that signals the end of its rest period. Images captured by the Sun during these last days show A complex structure of active regions On the surface of our star: sun spots, bulges, glare and holes in the corona.

Sunspots of April 25.
Sunspots of April 25.Ramon Delgado/Astroguada

In fact, as of September 2020, sunspots matter exceed expected levelsWhich leads us to think that we are experiencing an unusually rapid cycle of activity.


Solar activity is measured by the number of visible sunspots: the so-called Wolf number. This number changes periodically after a cycle of about 11 years (the duration of the cycle can range from about 9 to 13 years). At the beginning of a cycle, the solar surface is free of spots, the solar minimum. But, gradually, spots begin to appear at higher solar latitudes, which then multiply and spread towards the equatorial regions, until the solar maximum is reached.

Studying the evolution of sunspots is extremely important because these are what cause flares and solar eruptions. The Sun is most active when the sunspot cycle reaches its peak, and that’s when The biggest solar storms are triggered That, if directed at Earth, could damage the high-tech systems on which we heavily depend.

solar cycle He began to be counted in 1755., Chakra 1 was called the period of 1755-1766 and since then 24 cycles have been completed.

cycle 25

The most recent solar minimum occurred in 2019: there was no single position of the Sun during a period of 274 days, thus ending cycle 24. Cycle 25 started in December 2019, whose maximum is estimated for July 2025,

Evolution of the number of sunspots.NOAA

The trend observed in recent weeks points to more intense activity than expected. The attached image of the Sun taken Monday April 25 from Guadalajara by amateur astronomer Ramón Delgado (of the Astroguada Association) shows a cluster of spots labeled AR2993. This group produced double flashes of medium size (Type M in astronomical jargon), causing blackouts in many communication systems in Asia and Australia. last week there was a more intense explosion (Class X) But, fortunately, it was not pointed in the direction of Earth and had no effect on our planet.

Everything indicates that the cycle is going to be 25 Cycle 24 was much more active than, If at maximum cycle 24 the Sun was populated by 115 places, some predictions indicate that at cycle 25 it could reach a maximum of 130. However, according to other predictions, the Sun may have a maximum of two hundred spots. 2025.


The difference between some predictions and others is due to the difficulties solar physicists face in figuring out what the Sun’s behavior will be. These extrapolations are made up of patterns observed in solar activity during previous centuries, but there are several techniques to carry them out.

Some forecasting methods are based only on the recent behavior of sunspots, while others are based on models that Try to simulate the physical phenomena of the Sun, The latter appears to be the most reliable, but they need to know the value of the magnetic field in the Sun’s polar regions, a value that is very difficult to measure today. The European Solar Orbiter space probe (in which Spain plays an important role) should provide images of the solar poles during their maximum in the year 2025, which could contribute greatly to refining activity prediction models.

Solar storms and their risks

Violent flames are produced in sunspots that are accompanied by the emission of X-rays. These rays, which take about 8 minutes to reach our planet, help ionize the upper layers of the atmosphere and are usually absorbed into the ionosphere. But, when the radiation is intense enough, it can heat up and distort the ionosphere and causes serious problems in the propagation of radio waves In our communication systems, in particular the short waves used in long-distance aviation, emergency communications and amateur radio systems.

As with X-radiation, solar flares can be linked to coronal mass ejections that eject large numbers of highly energetic particles traveling at speeds between 300 and 1,000 kilometers per second. On exiting in the direction of our planet, these particles, which take two or three days to reach the earth, Can damage communication systems, power distribution networks and many other equipment technology.

Therefore, continuous monitoring of the Sun and the development of reliable forecasting methods are of critical importance for planning tasks in electrical and aerospace companies.


But not everything is negative in solar storms. When particles ejected by the Sun reach our planet, they enter our atmosphere through regions near the poles, following the magnetic lines of the magnetosphere. by interacting with the atoms and molecules of the atmosphere in the field between about 95 and 750 km high Where the density is sufficient, solar wind particles transmit energy that drives atmospheric particles toward higher energy levels. The rapid de-excitation of the latter then produces the beautiful luminous radiation we call polar aurorae.

Raphael graduate He is the director of the National Astronomical Observatory (National Geographic Institute) and an academician of the Royal Academy of Doctors of Spain.

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