Solar Science

A blog of solar physics

SC24: I must be cursed

with 10 comments

Either SC24 is the weakest ever solar cycle in a long time or I’m cursed. I look on Anthony Watts‘ excellent weblog and see that someone has sighted an SC24 spot in the Southern Hemisphere

And here’s the magnetogram showing that it is indeed an SC24 phenomenon:

If you care to look at the last SC24 spot to appear in the Northern Hemisphere, then this does appear to be an SC24 spot, (the magnetic polarities being reversed between the hemispheres).

So I snap into action, going to and…


…is that it? Or is it a dead pixel in the camera? Let’s check the magnetogram:


…and its gone!

Another SC24 “Tiny Tim” and I missed it.

Clearly spotting sunspots is more difficult than I thought. There cannot be more than a few hours between Anthony’s post and mine, and yet the SC24 spot and magnetic signature had both disappeared.

And on a sad note, it appears not to have been given a number by NASA. Maybe the person responsible went for coffee at just the wrong time.


Written by John A

May 4, 2008 at 6:31 am

10 Responses

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  1. It is still visible at now 10:00UT, 4 may. So you are not cursed 😉


    May 4, 2008 at 10:26 am

  2. You’re imagining it. There’s nothing on the magnetogram which means that the spot you’re seeing is an artifact of the camera when dealing with a spot on the sun which is just slightly lower temperature than the surrounding photosphere.

    Dealing with single pixels is always a problem and the cameras degrade over time, having to be “baked out” periodically as the CCD pixels lose sensitivity.

    The magnetogram is the key. Nothing there means no sunspots.

    John A

    May 4, 2008 at 12:49 pm

  3. And on a sad note, it appears not to have been given a number by NASA. Maybe the person responsible went for coffee at just the wrong time.

    Lol, that was funny !


    May 4, 2008 at 2:33 pm

  4. It is a Cycle 24 sunspot. Certain images may not have been updated yet depending on the source.. however this one is for real. This is the second Cycle 24 spot in less than a month. So hopefully things continue and hopefully a nice Solar Max will be reached in 2011-2012


    May 4, 2008 at 4:48 pm

  5. Is this the first SC24 sunspot on the southern hemisphere?


    May 4, 2008 at 7:00 pm

  6. I hope we have a cycle24 before cycle25 gets here! NASA’s track record is getting worse by the day.

    Al Fin

    May 4, 2008 at 7:48 pm

  7. Here is a blink-animation for the new SC24 sunspot. The magnetic abnormality appeared in the frame at 2008-05-03 06:58. The sunspots appeared in the frame at 2008-05-03 20:46.

    A minimum of 3 sunspots can be discerned in some frames. In the last frame with sunspots, their size and number appears to be decreasing. I will update the blink-animation when more frames become available.


    Note: To view using IE press the “F11” key to toggle between full screen and the normal IE display. To stop the animation, press the “Esc” key. To restart the animation press “F5”. The solar image is best viewed in full size, if using IE pass the pointer over the image and click if a magnifying glass is displayed with a “plus” sign in the center. The blink speed is one frame every 2.5 seconds with a 8 second delay on the last frame.

    Michael Ronayne

    May 4, 2008 at 11:40 pm

  8. Houston We Have A Problem!

    The SOHO MDI Continuum & MDI Magnetogram imaging systems are not updating, as the Date/Time stamps on the following eight SOHO products indicates.


    As of this post the last MDI Continuum & MDI Magnetogram downloads were over seventeen hours ago.

    The following graphic shows the delays between MDI Continuum & MDI Magnetogram downloads during 2008. With the number of Tiny Tim SC24 sunspots we are seeing, could one have slipped unnoticed through the gaps which the following graphic identifies?


    Michael Ronayne

    May 4, 2008 at 11:43 pm

  9. Suppose Mr. Hathaway was right when observing a sunspot with cycle 24 polarity on 31th July 2006. This means solar cycle 24 is now nearly 20 months old and should statistically become visible. So, if this doesn’t happen, we can expect a probably weak till very weak solar cycle 24 (Schatten, Badalyan,Svalgaard or Clilverd). Note, I’m not a solar scientist, I’m a mechanical engineer with a maintenance management background.


    May 11, 2008 at 5:03 pm

  10. Tree months plus and the trend continues. Spotless again today.


    August 13, 2008 at 9:27 am

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