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As 2009 arrived, solar physicists looked for some action. They didn't get it. The sun continued to languish until mid-December, when the largest group of sunspots to emerge in several years appeared. Even with the solar cycle finally underway again, the number of sunspots has so far been well below expectations. Something appears to have changed inside the sun, something the models did not predict. But what?
The problem with cycles larger than ourselves is the fact that we could have 'appeared,' so to speak, between cycles beginning and ending
We don't know when the next solar maximum will be, but probably the best predictions are for a weak maximum in 2013
An international panel of experts led by NOAA and sponsored by NASA has released a new prediction for the next solar cycle. Solar Cycle 24 will peak, they say, in May 2013 with a below-average number of sunspots