What is Solar Max and how does it impact
the Genesis mission?
Solar Max describes a collection of events, including coronal
mass ejections (CMEs) and flares, that occur with some regularity
on the sun. These events wax and wane on a roughly eleven-year
cycle. Solar Max is an abbreviation for Solar Maximum, the 2-4
year period when these events are at their highest level.
spots occur in all years, but during a Solar Max the number
of sun spots per year is higher than at other times. While
the sunspots themselves probably produce only minor changes
in the energy output of the sun, they seem to be associated
with solar flares and geomagnetic disturbances when they occur
in large numbers. So the rate of sunspot occurrence is often
an indicator of solar activity.
The Genesis spacecraft will be at L1 until 2004, so it is
experiencing the effects of this, the 23rd Solar Max since
recording of the solar cycles began, several hundred years
For a more technical description, take a
Closer Look at
The Structured Sun and Solar Max: At the Core of the Matter.