Miesch relates these forecasts to the solar cycle, an 11-year period in which solar activity swings owing to the amount of sunspots, black legions on the sun's surface with strong magnetic fields.
Solar maximum can last two years. Since late 2022, sunspot measurements, a crucial indication of northern lights activity, have grown, exceeding 2019 Solar Cycle 2025 projections.
NASA and NOAA's Solar Cycle 25 Prediction Panel estimated 115 sunspots in July 2025 as peak activity in 2019. The NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center recorded the same figure in August.
Miesch anticipates the sun to peak sooner in late 2024, bringing more northern lights activity than in 2014. Our activity peak is likely larger than in the prior cycle. He claimed it's the largest in 20 years and the finest chance to view the northern lights in Connecticut.
During geomagnetic storms, supercharged electrons clash with Earth's atoms and molecules to create northern and southern lights. NOAA says these storms are more prevalent during high sunspot activity.
Increased solar activity may generate greater geomagnetic storms and spread the aurora to the equator. The storm must be G3 or greater to view Connecticut's lights, Miesch added.
“The Northeast is the best place to be in the continental U.S.,” he remarked. Connecticut, Arizona, Minnesota, and Wisconsin saw northern lights in April this year.
Miesch claimed China and Korea began observing sunspots 2,000 years ago. Since 2007, the prediction center has used physics-based models to anticipate solar cycle amplitude.
Although models and data assimilation are improving, Miesch said predicting the sun remains difficult since they can't capture readings below the sun's surface.