Sunspots are unexpectedly erupting all across the face of the sun today as the current solar max continues beyond the point where it was expected to subside. The predicted sunspot count for the height of the max was 150, but NASA places the present count at 250,(as of June 10, 2001) far higher than expected.
In addition, the cycle was supposed to be past its maximum, but it would appear that extensive solar activity remains a possibility in the near future. The number of sunspots now appearing on the face of the disk is unusual.
Some observers are calling this a "mega-max," given that it saw one of the largest solar flares ever recorded (April 4, 2001) and that it now appears to be continuing well beyond its expected termination.
Some scientific studies suggest that high levels of solar activity result in weather changes here on earth, and that these changes can sometimes be dramatic.
To learn more about the sun, read Sten Odenwald's the 23rd Cycle.
For up-to-the-minute information about the sun, go to Spaceweather.com.
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