The new solar cycle has begun. What does the activity of the Sun mean for space missions?

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The sun has entered a new “solar cycle”, according to NASA. The new era is officially called the “Solar Cycle 25”, and information indicates that the cycle will mean a change in space weather that could have effects on both technology on Earth and astronauts in space.

Studying this phenomenon will be essential for the world to be prepared to deal with the various problems and complications that may arise as a result of this change in space weather, experts say.

The activity of the Sun takes place over a cycle of about 11 years, the star regularly moving from inactivity to active and back to inactivity.

What does changing this cycle entail?

These periods of activity are known as solar weather, and although their changes have been traced for hundreds of years, many of their processes and effects remain largely mysterious.

Changes in solar weather they can have widespread effects: astronauts who are not protected by the Earth’s magnetic field can be hit by dangerous amounts of radiation. And solar weather can also cause significant problems for radio communications technologies on the Earth’s surface.

As such, experts have suggested that the start of the new cycle should be an opportunity to better prepare plans for the changes expected in the coming years.

“There is no bad weather, just bad training,” said Jake Bleacher, chief scientist for NASA’s Exploration and Human Operations Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters. “Space time is what it is – our job is to prepare.”

The solar minimum that marks the end of the previous cycle actually took place in December 2019, according to NASA. But variations in the Sun can lead to concrete changes even after months.

The sun is fighting too

As the Sun moves toward its new cycle, the process could lead to dramatic events on the surface – huge explosions, such as rockets or coronal mass ejections. They can throw “light, energy and solar material” into space, NASA noted.

“We keep a detailed record of the small sunspots that mark the beginning and growth of the new cycle,” said Frédéric Clette, director of the World Data Center for the Sunspot Index and Long-term Solar Observations.

“These are the tiny heralds of the future huge solar fire. Only by following the general trend over several months can we establish the peak point between two cycles ”.

Scientists expect this activity to increase by July 2025, when the Sun reaches its next high, according to estimates.

Although experts expect the new cycle to be below average, as before, the unforeseen risks still exist.

But the effects of the sun affect not only the astronauts, but also us. The impact of the Sun on our daily lives is as real as can be, and such a phenomenon can considerably change its magnitude.

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