Solar Cycle 24 is diminishing rapidly, and we’ve already had several days with zero sunspot activity. We should hit the minimum then see the uptick sometime around 2020. But what will Solar Cycle 25 look like? You might want to take a guess after looking at the last three solar cycles in the image below.
According to Dr. Sten Odenwall, we will start seeing the new sunspots from Cycle 25 sometime around late-2019. The sunspot maximum is likely to occur in 2024, with most forecasts predicting about half as many sunspots as in Cycle 24. Weak indeed!
The bad news is that some studies show sunspot magnetic field strengths have been declining since 2000 and are already close to the minimum needed to produce sunspots on the solar surface. This is also supported by independent work in 2015 published in the journal Nature. Therefore, by Cycle 25, magnetic fields may be too weak to form recognizable sunspots at all, spelling the end of the sunspot cycle phenomenon.
Let’s hope that Cycle 24 isn’t our last!