KATHMANDU: Earlier this week, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shared that the solar cycle 25 has begun.

NASA shared during a media event on Tuesday that NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) experts are now into analysis and predictions about this new solar cycle – and how the coming upswing in space weather will impact our lives and technology on Earth and the activities of astronauts in space.

This split image shows the difference between an active Sun during solar maximum (on the left, captured in April 2014) and a quiet Sun during solar minimum (on the right, captured in December 2019). Photo Credits: NASA/SDO (Solar Dynamic Observatory)

Each solar cycle is about 11 years and scientists first marked solar cycle 1 since the extensive recording of solar sunspot activity began in February 1755 and ending in June 1766, discovered by Johann Rudolph Wolf.

Hence, every 11 years or so, the magnetic field of the sun flips and consequently north and south change their places.

There are solar minimum (periods with least solar activity) and solar maximum (having more solar activity) phases. During solar minimum sunspots are rare while during the maximum, they are abundantly found, which affects the space weather.

The solar minimum between Solar Cycle 24 and 25 happened in December 2019, when the 13-month smoothed sunspot number fell to 1.8, according to the Solar Cycle 25 Prediction Panel, co-chaired by NOAA and NASA. We are now in Solar Cycle 25 with peak sunspot activity expected in July 2025, as per the panel.

The solar activity occurred in December 2019 marked the start of Solar Cycle 25.

Solar Cycle 24 was supposedly a calm one and predictions are that cycle 25 will be calm too.

On the other hand, Nepali Panchanga notes that the Adhik Mala Maas, also known as Purshottam Mahina, (the extra month in one calendar in the leap year) started from today till October 16/Asoj 30. It happens when there are two new moons falling in the same month without a Saurya Sankranti.

Compiled by Kriti Joshi

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