Solar Mini-Max peak arrived

Solar scientists are wondering already for a while about the peaking maximum of sunspot activity. This is the 24th cycle of the, since 1755 recorded, so-called 11-year solar cycles. During this year’s NOAA’s Space Weather Workshop panelists agreed that the sunspot activity is on the highest level for this cycle. The activity will fade by 2015. Solar cycle 24 is also called a Solar Mini-Max since the actual number of sunspots observed is far lower than average of previous cycles. 

For satellite positioning system the time of declining sunspot activity is of more importance. During the fading of activity typically bigger flares and magnetic storms occur. Those activities sometimes cause dramatic, unpredictable disturbances in our planet’s ionosphere making reliable precise positioning harder to achieve. When the Galileo FOC satellites stay on current schedule, they are facing a rough start in space. The community will find out then of Galileo’s signal quality and how they compare to other GNSS.

(Source: NASA Science News )