Solar Cycle 24
Official Report #3.14159265
On January 4, 2008 a reversed polarity sunspot appeared. This means Solar cycle 24 has begun. No, this does not mean the entire wizarding community has switched to solar power. Although we have been conducting research to use solar power more effectively. (see Butterbeer Brewery efficiency report) What it means is that when a gust of solar wind hits the earth's magnetic field the impact causes the magnetic field to shake. In muggle communities these storms cause power outages, satellite blackouts and compass needles to swing in the wrong direction. For our community there are likely to be several side effects as well.
First take caution when using any kind of summoning spell, or any spell that aims to change the direction of an object. They may not react in the manner you expect. The magnetic pull of object could be altered during Solar cycle 24. For instance while moving a piano with Accio seems like an easy maneuver, the piano may move at such a rapid speed that it will flatten you. Adversely it may take 2 months to move the same object if the magnetic pull isn't working in your favor. I would avoid summoning anything larger than yourself. Charms such as Flipendo, that can knock objects backwards, could backfire and actually come at you. Above all use caution and think your spells through before using them.
One of the biggest disturbances this solar cycle will have upon us will be with lighting. Any spell or charm that produces light should be used with caution. This list includes, but is not limited to Lumos, Blue Bell Flame, Expecto Patronum and Incendio. The cycle will alter the amount of light and strength of the conjured spell. Never direct any of these towards another person. It is also highly advised that all witches and wizards invest in a pair of sunglasses (also known as shades or Ray-bans). Simple muggle contraptions that minimize the effects of bright light.
Any witch or wizard in possession of a Phoenix should be aware that when your Phoenix dies the size of flames expected should be considered unpredictable. Measures should be taken to prevent further spread of fire. Offices or homes should be emptied of paper and anything considered valuable should be stored away from these birds until the end of the solar cycle.
Finally the use of a Point Me charm should be avoided during the entire duration of the solar cycle. The Earth's magnetic field will be in disarray, so use of this charm is almost a guaranteed formula for getting lost. Please invest in muggle maps. They are quite colorful and will make attractive wall hangings when they are no longer needed.
According to muggle experts "Solar Cycle 24 looks like it's going to be one of the most intense cycles since record keeping began." All of the wizarding community should be prepared to expect the unexpected. If anyone should witness something exceedingly strange associated with Solar Cycle 24, please contact me immediately.
Ministry of Magic
Muggle Studies - Scientific Department