A single sunspot means the minimum is over?
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 Spaceweather.com.
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:
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 Solarcycle24.com:
The question is: have the other indicators of sunspot activity similarly risen?
More in a moment…