Signs of a new solar cycle?

From NASA:

The solar physics community is abuzz this week. No, there haven’t been any great eruptions or solar storms. The source of the excitement is a modest knot of magnetism that popped over the sun’s eastern limb on Dec. 11th, pictured below in a pair of images from the orbiting Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).

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Above: From SOHO, a UV-wavelength image of the sun and a map showing positive (white) and negative (black) magnetic polarities. The new high-latitude active region is magnetically reversed, marking it as a harbinger of a new solar cycle.

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5 thoughts on “Signs of a new solar cycle?

  1. Anthony:
    That solar link you added a few weeks back sure makes it easy to follow the action. I’ve been using it to track that cluster while you were off enjoying AGU. Which we’re sure waiting for a report from.

  2. Well, it’s near the right place, and it’s a reversal, but it’s not a spot yet.
    I think 24 is going to be a cool one.

  3. I noticed a day or two ago that the gadget I have in the corner of my own home page ( ) changed to “Active” for Solar XRays.
    I’m not bright enough to know for sure what that means, but I did wonder if the promised warming was finally on its way to the Great Plains.

  4. The press release at the link claims

    Many forecasters believe Solar Cycle 24 will be big and intense. Peaking in 2011 or 2012, the cycle to come could have significant impacts on telecommunications, air traffic, power grids and GPS systems. (And don’t forget the Northern Lights!) In this age of satellites and cell phones, the next solar cycle could make itself felt as never before.

    yet most of the predictions I’ve seen are predicting a weak cycle 24. The NOAA panel last March, for example, didn’t seem to reach any sort of consensus and instead gave high and low scenarios.

  5. yet most of the predictions I’ve seen are predicting a weak cycle 24
    That one caught my attention, too – I was sure I’d been hearing the opposite. Now I know I’m not the only one. *L*

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