Solar Cycle 24: Do we count Tiny Tims?
Another week of excitement as the second solar cycle 24 spot appeared…and then disappeared just as rapidly.
I can’t help feeling that with an unprecedented amount of high technology monitoring the Sun with ever higher resolution, the criteria by which a sunspot is defined has become radically weakened to such an extent that it all becomes meaningless.
On Climate Audit commenters noted that the criteria for naming hurricanes had become so weakened that practically any frontal wave in the Eastern Atlantic that persisted for more than a few hours got a name (the so-called “Tiny Tims” of the hurricane season).
So it appears to be with sunspots and Solar Cycle 24. Here is that second solar cycle 24 sunspot numbered for all to see:
Now in order to ascertain that there really is a spot there, I had to first make sure my laptop screen was really clean because it could have been hidden behind a rogue speck of dust and I could have missed it.
Can you spot it? If so, you’re better than I.
Here’s three views looking at the same spot. It may be there in the magnetogram showing the class signs of magnetic polarity reversal and there may be an associated phage (often the precursor of a sunspot) but is there a sunspot?
Meanwhile a few days later, yet another SC23 spot comes into view.
I can’t help but feel that this is all a little desperate. SC24 continues to surprise with its general unwillingness to make an unambiguous appearance.