Possible Cycle 24 spot emerging

As I’ve been noting regularly, Solar cycle 24 is late, and has produced only one spot this year, on January 4th. Since then, nothing, except a small parade of near equatorial oriented cycle 23 spots.

Now we see the faint beginnings of a spot at high latitude, with proper magnetic polarity.

Click for a LARGE image from SOHO

As you can see in the SOHO MDI image above, the spot is faint, and has not quite coalesced yet. It shows up far better on the SOHO magnetogram image. I’ve annotated and enhanced the image so the the polarity is identified and the relevant area magnified:

As you can see while the latitude is high and almost identical in latitude to the January 4th cycle 24 spot, it still hasn’t formed up to be a true sunspot. It remains simply a disturbed magnetic region.

A lot of people will be watching this “sorta spot”. I wonder if they’ll have the SOHO MDI image up on the big monitors for betting at sportsbooks in Las Vegas?

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April 12, 2008 4:30 am

solarcycle24.com seems to think it probably won’t become a sunspot.

Neil Gibson
April 12, 2008 5:16 am

Off Topic but Hadcrut3 is out – up .243

Michael Ronayne
April 12, 2008 5:32 am

In addition to http://solarcycle24.com are there any websites or pages which provide good real-time Solar Weather summaries? I have been disappointed with NASA and NOAA website which have a lot of information but it is not well organized.
Do you know what the probility of a plage region transforming into a sunspot is? Several weeks ago Far-side imaging showed high latitude anomalies which did not develop into anything or did not survive the journey to Earth-side.
In a May 11, 2006 NASA stated:
“Normally, the conveyor belt moves about 1 meter per second—walking pace,” says Hathaway. “That’s how it has been since the late 19th century.” In recent years, however, the belt has decelerated to 0.75 m/s in the north and 0.35 m/s in the south. “We’ve never seen speeds so low.”
If sunspot activity is negatively correlated with conveyor speed, should we expect to see any asymmetry in sunspot distribution during Solar Cycle 24, with fewer sunspots in the Sothern Hemisphere?

April 12, 2008 6:11 am

Tough call calling that an actual “spot”.

April 12, 2008 6:50 am

Ooh Aah!

April 12, 2008 6:59 am

Wow Anthony, you are quick. I saw this anamoly last night and thought, “Maybe I’ll post over at Watts’ site about it. [pause] Nah, it’s nothing.”
On a topic [sarcasm] completely unrelated [/sarcasm] to the sun, the Hadley Centre has published their March temperature data.

Evan Jones
April 12, 2008 9:21 am

Would this have been detectable back in the early 1800s, or is this a Tiny Tim-type event ?

Pierre Gosselin (aka AGWscoffer)
April 12, 2008 10:20 am

Looks bleached to me. Heck I would’ve never seen it if you hadn’t pointed it out.
That’s a spot? I’m glad you’re not my wife!

Jerker Andersson
April 12, 2008 11:01 am

Our view of the 11/22 year solar cycle is based on visble spots on the surface. It is a simplified view of the cycle that pretty much is based on observation technologies available 200-300 years ago.
In our modern new technology world we should be able to meassure a wider range of data that is more accurate.
Imo new meassurement series should be created that give a more detailed view of how the sun cycle varies. “invisible” reverse polar fields should be a part of it.
This reverse polar field and sunspot of januar shows that something has happened inside of the sun. This “thing” seems to be weak so far. It will be interesting to see if this new SC24 magnetic field will grow strong enough to turn into a sunspot.
How long have we been able to meassure the magnetic fields on the sun and are there any diagrams similar to the sunspot diagram showing how the magnetic field related to a specific solar cycle varies up and down?
If that magnetic field evolves to a sunspot of significant size and will be the first one in an accelerating trend this year it is both good new and bad news.
The good new are about that we then know that we “very likeley”, ™ IPCC, won’t head into a Maunder or Dalton minimum type of solar cycle.
The bad news is that the sun may not be weak enough to proove how great impact it can have on the climate giving Al Gore and his believers more room to cause economic and social damages to the world, especially the developing countries.

Bill in Vigo
April 12, 2008 2:16 pm

It seems that we may have to wait a few days to see if we are actually starting SC24. Time will tell us how we are doing. I don’t think our temperature measurements are working very well. I agree that much more study is needed in the area of the effect of the sun on our climate, the science is not settled.
Bill Derryberry

April 12, 2008 4:25 pm

This looks similar to the reversed “area” that appeared in 2006. Not really a spot, but not exactly dismissable as nothing.
Are pseudo-spots like this normal at the beginning of a cycle?

Evan Jones
April 12, 2008 6:06 pm

As one wag put it:
Will it be Global Warming or Nuclear Winter?

Pamela Gray
April 12, 2008 7:44 pm

I am beginning to think that spots may not be the best measure of activity changes. I’ve been looking at magnetographs for signs of increasing activity and have found none. Could it be that the overall activity affects earth’s climate, not the number of spots?

April 12, 2008 9:55 pm

Pamela Gray
“I am beginning to think that spots may not be the best measure of activity changes.”
I agree. Since Cosmic Ray modulation depends on the Sun’s magnetic field and solar wind, those would be better to watch. However, I think it’s only normal for people to be champing at the bit given that the minimum is a year late. Besides, solar cycle 24 by definition requires that the cycle 24 sunspot number is high enough to get the total climbing, so sunspot watching is what’s happening. Once we leave cycle 23 behind, then it would be a good time to remind everyone that the magnetic field is more important counting spots. Or speculating about magnetic disruptions that may never get strong enough to manifest a spot.
Watching muon counts is also worthwhile. Lessee, a couple links:

April 13, 2008 1:22 am

Could it be that we are in an instability period for the sun as Landscheidt says in that the center of mass of our solar system is near the surface of the sun during this extended period from 2002 – 2011/2012. Also the recent drop/step in the suns magnetic field as highlighted by Anthony could this be a geomagnetic jerk that corresponds with the current placement of Jupiter in relation to the CM?

April 13, 2008 5:09 am

Tear Jerker.
The excruciating agony is indeed a rough irony. Welll, one must take the roughs with some smooths.

Pierre Gosselin (aka AGWscoffer)
April 13, 2008 6:12 am


Pierre Gosselin (aka AGWscoffer)
April 13, 2008 7:09 am

Theodor Lanscheidt:
“We need not wait until 2030 to see whether the forecast of the next deep Gleissberg minimum is correct. A declining trend in solar activity and global temperature should become manifest long before the deepest point in the development. The current 11-year sunspot cycle 23 with its considerably weaker activity seems to be a first indication of the new trend, especially as it was predicted on the basis of solar motion cycles two decades ago. As to temperature, only El Niño periods should interrupt the downward trend, but even El Niños should become less frequent and strong. The outcome of this further long-range climate forecast solely based on solar activity may be considered to be a touchstone of the IPCC’s hypothesis of man-made global warming. ”

Bill Illis
April 13, 2008 7:12 am

While the new magnetic spot is high latitude and reversed polarity, the solar flux has dropped to 68 which hasn’t been seen since November. The Sun is still sleeping.

Michael Ronayne
April 13, 2008 12:46 pm

We may have a SC24 sunspot!
From http://solarcycle24.com/
“It now appears that the high latitude Cycle 24 region has sprouted a mini sunspot as you can see in the images below. It is yet to be seen if this region will grow enough to fetch an official sunspot designation.”

April 13, 2008 5:22 pm

Still not really visible on the SOHO image, only on the magnetogram. I doubt 200 years ago that this would have even been seen.

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