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Earth will enter a solar maximum in 2025 – here’s what that means

Published Apr 26th, 2023 8:06PM EDT
first images of the Sun's chromosphere

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Some astronomers expect our Sun to enter its solar maximum in 2025, if not before. The solar maximum, the highest peak in solar activity during a solar cycle, means the Sun’s magnetic field will be at its strongest and most disordered. That means Earth may have to deal with more inclement solar weather in the coming years.

Every solar cycle typically lasts around 11 years. The solar maximum usually comes in the center of that cycle. These center peaks can be exceptionally powerful, like the one expected this cycle, or they can be weaker, like the one seen in the last solar maximum between 2021 and 2014.

Ultimately, the general strength of the solar maximum we experience in 2025 will determine just how harsh the solar weather is. It will therefore determine if we experience powerful solar flares or coronal mass ejections, which can then cause issues here on Earth, too.

image of most powerful solar flare in five yearsImage source: NASA

Of course, these points within our solar cycle happen so often that it isn’t likely to cause any kind of issues on an individual level. However, the intensified solar weather could lead to more radio blackouts and possible interference with spacecraft we have out in orbit around Earth.

There is also the possibility of health risks that the radiation created by these eruptions can cause for astronauts as well as passengers and crew on aircraft flying at high altitudes. Further, the solar maximum predicted to hit in 2025 is expected to be more powerful than the last one.

Exactly how much more powerful remains to be seen, but we do know that the Sun has been unleashing X-class solar flares over the past couple of years as the activity levels on the Sun continue to rise further toward that peak. It’s also likely we’ll see more aurora borealis appearing in the coming years as the solar cycle peaks.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.