Its all quiet on the solar front. Too quiet. It has now been almost 2 and a half months since the last counted cycle 24 sunspot has been seen on April 13th, 2008. There was a tiny cycle 24 “sunspeck” that appeared briefly on May 13th, but according to solar physicist Leif Svalgaard, that one never was assigned a number and did not “count”. It is just barely discernable on this large image from that day.
NASA’s David Hathaway updated his solar cycle prediction page on June 4th. The start of cycle 24 keeps getting pushed forward while the ramp up line starts to look steeper into 2009.
The most recent forecast ( June 27th, 2008 ) from the Space Weather Prediction Center says little that would suggest our spotless streak would end any time soon:
Solar Activity Forecast: Solar activity is expected to be very
Analysis of Solar Active Regions and Activity from 26/2100Z
to 27/2100Z: Solar activity was very low. No flares occurred during
the past 24 hours and the solar disk remains spotless.
So when will solar cycle 24 really get going? It seems even the best minds of science don’t know for certain. A NOAA press release issued last year in April 2007 calls for Cycle 24 to be up to a year late, but they can’t decide on the intensity of SC24. That argument is ongoing.
Meanwhile the NOAA SEC Solar Cycle Progression Page looks pretty flat in all metrics charted.