Solar Science

A blog of solar physics

A single sunspot means the minimum is over?

with 4 comments

Fox News reports:

After one of the longest sunspot droughts in modern times, solar activity picked up quickly over the weekend.

A new group of sunspots developed, and while not dramatic by historic standards, the spots were the most significant in many months.

“This is the best sunspot I’ve seen in two years,” observer Michael Buxton of Ocean Beach, Calif., said on

Solar activity goes in a roughly 11-year cycle. Sunspots are the visible signs of that activity, and they are the sites from which massive solar storms lift off.

The past two years have marked the lowest low in the cycle since 1913, and for a while scientists were wondering if activity would ever pick back up.

And here is the same sunspot previously reported:

Sunspot 1024 as at July 8 2009

Sunspot 1024 as at July 8 2009

Now while I might welcome the return of the sunspot cycle, I caution everyone to be patient, as we’ve had these false dawns many times before.

Here’s the animation, courtesy of

Sunspot 1024 animation

Sunspot 1024 animation

The question is: have the other indicators of sunspot activity similarly risen?

More in a moment…

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Written by John A

July 7, 2009 at 11:16 am

Posted in Solar Cycle 24

Tagged with ,

4 Responses

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  1. Woo hoo! That will show those denialist scum! Yes! The drought is over! Cycle 24 is here, and NASA assures us it’s going to be a whopper! YEAH! Get ready to fry, all those who would deny the dogma of Global Warming!

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

    Stan B

    July 9, 2009 at 4:17 am

  2. […] on this blog, I’d mentioned my skepticism that one decent sunspot marked the end of the hiatus in the […]

  3. One sunspot does not make a complete cycle, neither does one fine group, similarly one brief time of sunspot observations will not make a solar scientist entirely happy.

    (Apologizes to Aristotle and his comment on swallows and summer)

    Most of the July sunspot activity is related to one small group which is now disappearing behind the sun’s limb.

    Nothing is seen emerging and the sunspot count may again drop to zero.

    As one who has followed the travails of the experts trying to first forecast Cycle 24 and then trying to explain the dearth of sunspots, we should not declare the “minimum is over”.

    Yes, we have “The One”, but does it mean that we won’t have another period of low or no activity?

    It was only a few years ago, that the experts predicted a very intense Cycle 24 based on their “theories” and their proven accuracy in predicting the intensity of Cycle 23.

    “Oct. 19, 1998: Scientists at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center appear to have done a good job of predicting Cycle 23 of the sunspot cycle.

    “They expect Cycle 23 to continue until sometime in 2006 when the next cycle, Cycle 24, should begin.” (If you invert the 6 in 2006 … they were correct.)

    Too bad the Sun wasn’t invested in the “proven” theory.

    No expert predicted the late start of Cycle 24 or the deep quiet phase of the sun in all measurable energies.

    We live in exciting Solar times … stay tuned for the conclusion of Cycle 24 … and, if possible, the complete Cycle 25.

    After 24 ends and 25 definitely begins, only then will we know the actual intensity or lack of intensity of the enigmatic Cycle 24.

    J Gary Fox

    July 11, 2009 at 6:58 am

  4. […] on this blog, I’d mentioned my skepticism that one decent sunspot marked the end of the hiatus in the solar […]

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