Solar Activity Reality Check (February 12, 2004)
Hi-res TIF image (3.4M)
A glance at the sunspot number chart above shows that the number of
sunspots continues its slide downwards as we move away from the solar
maximum period of peak activity for this 11-year solar cycle. See our
POTW from last June titled Sunspot numbers - a
slippery slope down. And the numbers will generally continue to
decline. Scientists track solar cycles by counting sunspots and this
solar cycle reached its peak level in July 2000. Since then, the number
of sunspots and general solar activity has gradually declined.
Inevitably, the number of sunspots will follow this curve down until
the numbers bottom out, sometime around 2006. Scientists also keep
track of solar microwave flux, ultraviolet line emission, flare
frequencies, and interplanetary disturbance frequencies as ways of
measuring the solar and heliospheric cycle.
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SOHO began its Weekly Pick some time after sending a weekly image or video clip to the American Museum of Natural History (Rose Center) in New York City. There, the SOHO Weekly Pick is displayed with some annotations on a large plasma display.
If your institution would also like to receive the same Weekly Pick from us for display (usually in Photoshop or QuickTime format), please send your inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.