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12/04/2014 – Ephemeris – What’s happening on the Sun this solar cycle

December 4, 2014

Ephemeris for Thursday, December 4th.  The sun will rise at 8:02.  It’ll be up for 9 hours even, setting at 5:02.   The moon, 2 days before full, will set at 6:52 tomorrow morning.

It looks like maybe we’ve hit the peak of sunspots in this 11 year solar cycle.  Actually this cycle had two peaks, the latter part of 2012 when the world ended.  You do remember the world ending two years ago on December 21st.  How soon we forget.  The second peak in this solar cycle occurred in the first three months of this year.  The sunspot cycle 24 so far appears to be the weakest since cycle 12 in the 1880s.  The time of the peak can only be determined in hindsight.  Of course this weak sunspot cycle produced the largest sunspot group, or active region, as they are now called, in 24 years, so I expect more surprises from this solar cycle.  I expect to see more aurorae or northern lights as the sunspot numbers decline.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.


Sunspot cycles 23-24

Sunspot cycle from 2000 until October 2014. Credit: NOAA/SWPC.

All recorded sunspot cycles

All the recorded sunspot cycles back to the 18th century.  Credit: Dr. David Hathaway, NASA /ARC.

Here’s a link to NASA’s Sunspot Cycle page with a lot more information.

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