Many commenters have mentioned “The Watts Effect”, whereby within a short period of time after I do a post about the sun on WUWT mentioning the lack of sunspots, one appears.
I figured it was time to settle the issue with a test, a big one. The sun is blank, here is my post. We are about to break the monthly calendar record (again) for a calendar month without sunspots. Ironically this last occurred in August 2008. Depending on whether you believe NOAA or SIDC in Belgium about whether a sunspeck noted by one observatory (Catainia in Italy) was a valid sunspot or not determines if August 2008 was a sunspotless calender month or not. Let’s hope neither Catainia, SIDC, or my nefarious and dubious spot producing solar powers spoil this run.
But wait, there’s more.
This was in Spaceweather.com today:
Inspect the image below. It is a photo of the sun taken by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). Can you guess what day it was taken? Scroll down for the answer.
August 28th, today. But it could have been taken on any day of the past seven weeks. For all that time, the face of the sun has looked exactly the same–utterly blank.
According to NOAA sunspot counts, the longest string of blank suns during the current solar minimum was 52 days back in July, Aug. and Sept. of 2008. If the current trend continues for only four more days, the record will shift to 2009. It’s likely to happen; the sun remains eerily quiet and there are no sunspots in the offing. Solar minimum is shaping up to be a big event indeed.
Here’s the count as of August 30th:
Current Stretch: 51 days
2009 total: 193 days (80%)
Since 2004: 704 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days