Solar Physics

, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 175–183 | Cite as

Essential features of the 11-year solar cycle

  • M. N. Gnevyshev


Investigation of sunspots, coronal lines intensity, flares and other solar and geophysical data have confirmed the fact that the 11-year cycle consists of two events (maxima) having different features.

During the first maximum (it coincides in time with the maximum of the Wolf numbers) the solar activity increases in all heliographic latitudes but it is maximal in latitude 25° in each hemisphere. The far UV radiation and number of small spots, flares and geomagnetic disturbances with sudden commencements and without 27-day recurrences are maximum at this time.

During the second maximum, which appears 2–3 years after the first one, the activity is maximal in latitudes ± 10°. At this time the biggest spots, big flares, aurora and geomagnetic disturbances with the gradual commencements and long series of 27-day recurrences appear.

The variations of averaged 5303 and 6374 Å coronal line intensities may be interpreted as an increase of coronal density and temperature during the first maximum and a sharp decrease of density and temperature rise during the second one. The temperature during the second maximum is higher than that during the first one.

The distribution of activity on time-latitude diagrams (so-called ‘butterflies’) is a result of superposition of two random distributions corresponding to the two maxima mentioned above.


Flare Solar Activity Solar Cycle Geophysical Data Small Spot 
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© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. N. Gnevyshev
    • 1
  1. 1.The Kislovodsk Station of the Pulkovo ObservatoryKislovodskU.S.S.R.

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