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©2008 by Richard Nolle

WOW!JAN 7, 2008 - New Sunspot Cycle Begins is a news bulletin (from the Associated Press via Yahoo!), putting us all on notice that the local celestial big dog is about to shake up us fleas. NASA, NOAA and all manner of science types have been warning us for years that the recent quiet phase in solar activity was about to come to an end; that a new cycle of intense sunspot activity was about to kick in. Well it did, on Thursday last week, when a magnetically reversed sunspot emerged at solar latitude 30° north. The first solar wind from that new cycle lit into our home planet the following day, sparking the first auroras of the new solar regime. What to look for? Wildly beautiful auroras are just the start of what could be the strongest solar activity cycle in centuries. It will take a few years for this to peak out - 2011 or 2012 is the projected Solar Max at this point - but the surge of solar flares and explosions has begun. Cell phones, GPS signals, power grids and satellite signals are about to get dicey, boys and girls! I'll take that, if Ol' Sol will be so kind as to avoid blasting our little corner of the Universe with a CME (Coronal Mass Ejection). That would be a Really Bad Day . . .

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