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Sunspots peaking again (January 22, 2002)

  • Higher resolution version (TIF,5.0M)
  • The number of sunspots is surging again, suggesting a second period of peak activity in this solar cycle. 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, though still high, had begun to diminish as expected (see image for December, 2000). But, as this chart shows, the number of spots has generally increased again over the past several months to a second peak, almost as high as the first. Interestingly, the same "double-peak" pattern was observed during the last solar cycle.

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