Sun May be Nearing Solar Maximum 6/20

With an increase in solar flare and coronal mass ejections, NASA believe we may be nearing the sun's solar maximum.

Solar maximum, is known as an increase in the suns activity and it happens on an 11-year cycle. The activity is in the form of solar flares and solar storms. These images can be beautiful, but they can also be harmful to our satellites.

Satellites rotate above the earth, and are very important in GPS monitoring and gathering helpful information including weather forecasting. 

But satellites can be impacted from solar flares.  However, because of their study of the sun, NASA says that they can put satellites into safe mode when they know if one of these solar flares or solar eruptions will be directed towards earth. 

There are other impacts that we can see on the earth though. "It can cause power grids to go down because this is an electrical disturbance so it does affect our technology, and it can affect our GPS but here on the surface we're protected by the earth's magnetic field.", according to NASA Helophysicist Holly Gilbert. 

Known as space weather, this is giant bursts of particles and energy and sometimes that can be directed towards the earth. 

NASA reports 16 solar flares and 19 Coronal Mass Ejections in the month of May. NASA does believe that we may be in the middle of the solar maximum. 

Although the entire length of solar maximum can last for a couple of year according to Heliophysicist Holly Gilbert.

However they won't know if the peak has hit until it's past.

They may not fully know if we are past peak for about another year. 

If you want to track the sun's activity, go to the website you see above.

Or click here: www.nasa.gov/sunearth

Here is another great link for more detailed information on solar flares, and solar storms: www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/spaceweather/index.html

You can look at the amazing images or learn more about a mission scheduled to launch June 26 called IRIS

IRIS will allow NASA to study a very thin layer of the solar atmosphere, which is extremely important in studying space weather. 

Follow Meteorologist Aubrey Urbanowicz WHSV on Facebook and Twitter.

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