Solar Cycle 25 is here, and that means - in the years ahead - more solar flares and more coronal mass ejections, or CMEs. People sometimes use the words interchangeably, but they're not the same thing. Here's the difference.
A study of oppositely charged magnetic field bands, moving in the sun's northern and southern hemispheres, suggests the coming sunspot cycle - Cycle 25 - will be a particularly strong one. This result contradicts an earlier expert forecast, suggesting a weak Cycle 25.
The sun is becoming active again as it enters Solar Cycle 25. This week, scientists' predictions of sunspots were proven via photos from astronomers around the world. Giant sunspot AR2786 can be viewed with proper filters and may create strong flares that reach Earth.
Solar storms pose risks for society, but more accurate space weather forecasts appear to be coming soon. A team of researchers in Japan has developed a physics-based method for predicting large solar flares, including powerful and potentially dangerous X-flares.