"Maybe the sun really means business this time!"

After months of malaise and anemic sunspecks, the sun finally creates a respectable spot.While lower towards the equator than expected, it has been identified as a cycle 24 spot.

SOHO_latest

The sun today, showing region 1029 - click for very large image

From SpaceWeather.com: The sun is showing signs of life. Over the weekend, sunspot 1029 emerged and it is crackling with B- and C-class solar flares. Amateur astronomer Gianluca Valentini of Rimini, Italy, took this picture just hours ago:

“Incredible size and structure for this sunspot after such a long time of mini-events–maybe the sun really means business this time!” says Valentini.

In Ocean Beach, California, Michael Buxton made a movie of the active region: play it. “My girlfriend and I watched the magnetic fibrils around the sunspot as they surged and swirled,” he says. “It was a wonderful area of activity.”

The sunspot’s magnetic polarity identifies it as a member of new Solar Cycle 24. If it continues to grow at this rate, sunspot 1029 could soon become the biggest sunspot of 2009. Readers with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor developments.

Here’s some solar indices from SWPC

Solar_indices102609

According to solarcycle24.com here are the “records” for cycle24 so far:

SOLAR FLUX – 76 (9/23/2009 – bested today with 81, SWPC confirms)

SUNSPOT # – 32 (9/24/2009)

FLARE – C2.7 (7/5/2009)

DAYS IN A ROW WITH A SUNSPOT – 11 (10/1/2009)

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Question to those who know about these matters: If this spot is so near to the equator does it mean that solar cycle 24 is near its end?
Or is it perhaps a losen v-belt running the solar dynamo? 🙂

Bulldust

In before the Leif?

Steve Huntwork

The low latitude was my first question today when I saw this image.

william

Looks like sunspot activity will be back on the upswing and temperatures will be climbing again. Gavin Schmidt predicts that the cooling is over and that 2010 will be warmer.

tokyoboy

Where’s the GOALPOST now?

littlepeaks

I haven’t seen anything about M-Class or X-Class flares discussed. I wonder when the last M-Class flare occurred and how this frequency compares to more typical sunspot minimums.

Rupert

Does one sunpot a summer make however?

Ray

Will it be like last time the sun showed a decent sunspot… after giving such show it went back in the coma for a very long time. It’s like it’s giving all it has to fall even lower… hummm, just like excitation electronic transition mechanism.

Mick

It’s alive, it’s a live!
OK, who charged the defibrillator? Or was it a lightning …

Reminds me of what someone posted and reposted to me on a forum…
http://www.predictweather.co.nz/assets/articles/article_resources.php?id=89
“Cycle 24 is a while off. From July 2007 to 25/3/2008 the situation is that cycle 23 that began in 1996 still reigns and has for the moment really caught a blossoming. From Cycle 24 there is a single tiny signature in 4.1.2008 and then nothing. Through March 2008 we have had 16 spotless days, one spot group from cycle 23 (southern hemisphere) on 7 days thus far, two spot groups from cycle 23 (SH) on 2 days thus far (24.3.-), three spot groups from cycle 23 (SH) on 1 day thus far (25.3.-) and no spots from cycle 24 thus far. Cycle 24 will take a while and there is a transition period. The orbits of the two gas giants Jupiter and Saturn but mainly Jupiter, dominate sunspot production. The relevant points of orbit are opposition (Jupiter and Saturn 180deg apart, or on opposite sides of the sun) and conjunction (Jupiter and Saturn in line with and on same side as the sun). Jupiter is now in the same position as in March 1996, which was a month in which cycle 23 had not yet kicked in.
Consider this:
the peak of SS20 was 1969/70, and the nearest J/S opposition was 1971-72
the peak of SS21 was 1980/82, and the nearest J/S conjunction was 1981
the peak of SS22 was 1984/92, and the nearest J/S opposition was 1991
the peak of SS23 was 1999/02, and the nearest J/S conjunction was 2000-01
the peak of SS24 should be 2010, and the nearest J/S opposition will be 2011.
A sunspot is said usually underway about 1-2 years before peak.
[b]Our calculation therefore is that SS24 should not begin before Sept 09.”[/b]
I posted this Fri May 15, 2009
I guess the ‘moon man’ Ken Ring was right, certainly more accurate than a lot of the ‘experts.

If the “Watts Effect” is a reciprocating mechanism, we may not see another sunspot until March.

“One swallow does not make a summer, …” Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC).
Let’s wait for more evidence before we call off the “inconvenient” minimum.

crosspatch

Oh, joy! Maybe we finally have solar maximum!
STEREO shows nothing but blank sun on the “behind” picture that shows what is due to rotate into view over the next several days.

Lance

As stated already, lets see what the next months bring…..

rbateman

tokyoboy (18:37:09) :
Goalpost??
That depends on what the Sun does from here on out, not on what it does in 1 day.
Our own Dr. Leif Svalgaard predicts the cycle based on Active Region count, not sunspots.
There is also the observations of Livingston & Penn to account for.
It’s more like a tug-o-war between the Irresistable Force and the Immovable Object. Which will prevail?

Joe Miner

@ william (18:36:38) :
Gavin Schmidt predicts that the cooling is over and that 2010 will be warmer.
I didn’t know that Gavin had even admitted that it had been cooling for the last 10 years.

rbateman

Today’s (10/26/2009 22:24) measurements of SSN 1029:
Whole spot = 368 x 10E6
Umbra = 45.6 x 10E6
Previous record SSN 1024:
Whole spot = 343.9 x 10E6
Umbra = 26.2 x 10E6
All measurements corrected for foreshortening.

Adolfo Giurfa (18:22:25) :
Question to those who know about these matters: If this spot is so near to the equator does it mean that solar cycle 24 is near its end?
No, the spread in latitude is not unusual, once the cycle has started for good.
Eddie Murphy (18:50:17) :
the peak of SS24 should be 2010, and the nearest J/S opposition will be 2011.
This seems already to be off the mark.
rbateman (19:15:55) :
There is also the observations of Livingston & Penn to account for.
Bill Livingston reports tha he got some good readings on the group. It will take a couple of days the work up the results. Considering that the spot is large, one might ‘predict’ a magnetic field of 2300 Gauss. Let’s see how it comes out.

Aelric

Two (barely) C-class flares in a 48-hour period is “crackling” with them?

MC

Look for another extended length of time to pass before another sunspot group. The pattern has been in my opinion that when these spots occur, accrued energy is released thereby providing a period of quiet. We’ll see.
Next, this group is located much closer to the equator of the sun which indicates a mature period of cycle 24. If the next spot group appears at or below this latitude then we should expect a peak to the cycle soon and then a long transition into the end of cycle 24. This brings into question the validity of predictions by Leif of a max cycle sunspot peak of 75 give or take and warrants a closer look at predictions made of a max cycle sunspot number of 45 by Archibald and others.
If this cycle peaks at 45 or less then a serious relook at what is in store for a cooling climate will be the next order of prediction. In other words the expected Dalton type cooling resulting from a 45 max sunspot number could be revised down due to a lower max sunspot number of less than 45 will be something to consider.
For everyone who has been following closely the posts of this sight over the last 2 years, closing arguements can be made about who was correct and who was wrong about predicting cycle 24 sunspot activity. I expect when the peak is realized then those who were correct in their prediction can then claim the high ground for their prediction of climate effects in the future. After all “nothing new here but building on the good work of those who preceded us” wouldn’t you say?

Beware of the solar flux value. Is is quoted at Noon to be 81 sfu, but was actually only 80 sfu, as we are moving closer to the Sun. Had this been early January, the values would have been 85 observed and 80 adjusted for distance.

CPT. Charles

At least they put in the word ‘maybe’.
Forgive me if I don’t hold my breath in anticipation.

savethesharks

Leif Svalgaard (19:37:42) :
“Beware of the solar flux value. Is is quoted at Noon to be 81 sfu, but was actually only 80 sfu, as we are moving closer to the Sun. Had this been early January, the values would have been 85 observed and 80 adjusted for distance.”

I don’t understand why the “official” flux reading is not the corrected one, Leif.
It would certainly save some confusion. Why do they continue to report the unadjusted number?
Chris
Norfolk, VA, USA

Adam from Kansas

There’s also other magnetic areas on the Sun, I guess SC24 had to start up sooner or later.
Tallbloke has said the quiet Sun has been causing the oceans to go into heat-release mode, I like to ask him this, if the Sun gets and stays active will SST’s go down as the oceans go back to heat-retain mode?

savethesharks (19:57:14) :
I don’t understand why the “official” flux reading is not the corrected one, Leif.
It would certainly save some confusion. Why do they continue to report the unadjusted number?

It is because both numbers are useful. The observed number governs the actual conductivity of the ionosphere important for radio communication. The adjusted one is useful as a purely solar index. What is amazing is that people can be continually confused about this. There is a similar situation with TSI.

Aligner

And now for the heretical stuff … all based on nothing!
Venus and Mercury conjunction around the 19th, both now straddling Saturn’s line knocking the sun off balance for a short while. You can see Mercury going right to left on LASCO3. Might be a puff or two up to the 2rd or 3rd when Venus crosses Saturn on one side with Uranus opposite. Mercury is roughly opposing Earth at the same time. Will be interesting to see what (if anything) happens. Expect it’ll pretty much go back to sleep again then till 3rd week in March. 1st week of Jan might see a decent spot or two perhaps.

MC (19:34:47) :
Next, this group is located much closer to the equator of the sun which indicates a mature period of cycle 24
As you can see from the butterfly diagram, the ‘wings’ have a large spread. There is nothing sensational about a 15 degree latitude even early in the cycle:
http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/images/bfly.gif
This brings into question the validity of predictions by Leif of a max cycle sunspot peak of 75 give or take and warrants a closer look at predictions made of a max cycle sunspot number of 45 by Archibald and others.
Solar activity is magnetic in nature, and predictions are then really about the magnetic field. The sunspot number is somewhat arbitrary in this regard. For the years 1947-1990, there was a reasonable correlation between the magnetic field and the sunspot number. There is no a priory that the correlation must hold at all times. There are, in fact, some indications that it does not. E.g. the Maunder minimum, the recent discrepancy between the F10.7 flux and the sunspot number, and the Livingston & Penn measurements. A better measure might be the F10.7 flux, where SSN=75 corresponds to a flux of 120 sfu. If L&P are correct, we could have SSN=0, but F10.7 = 120 sfu, Another measure would be the number of magnetic active regions [that typically each consist of many spots]. The usual conversion factor is about 12, so that a SSN of, say, 72 corresponds to a number of regions of 72/12=6.
You will see in the coming years how some people will try to turn these considerations into support for just about any prediction.

Well we are on track to have more spotless days in 2009 than we had in 2008

Aligner (20:28:34) :
And now for the heretical stuff
that is not heretical, but just nonsense.

savethesharks

Leif Svalgaard (20:08:44) :
Hey….you said “beware the solar flux value”….so that’s why I asked the question.
Chris
Norfolk, VA, USA

Leif Svalgaard (19:32:33) : Eddie Murphy (18:50:17) :the peak of SS24 should be 2010, and the nearest J/S opposition will be 2011.
This seems already to be off the mark.
I pray so… but a dink cycle could do it.

savethesharks (20:39:08) :
Hey….you said “beware the solar flux value”….so that’s why I asked the question
I had already seen the confusion. Even Anthony’s widget is ‘wrong’ in this respect. And I have lost count of how many times I have clarified this point and, yes, railed against the misuse or conflation.

mr.artday

How long was the period between this real spot and the last real spot? Some months as I remember, with just the occasional Tiny Tim. It’s always possible that we will have another some months until the next real spot. What will Gavin Schmidt have to say then, now that he has spilled the beans with his back door acknowledgement of global cooling?

FatBigot

Mr Aligner said (20:28:34) :
“And now for the heretical stuff … all based on nothing!
Venus and Mercury conjunction around the 19th, both now straddling Saturn’s line knocking the sun off balance for a short while. You can see Mercury going right to left on LASCO3. Might be a puff or two up to the 2rd or 3rd when Venus crosses Saturn on one side with Uranus opposite. Mercury is roughly opposing Earth at the same time. Will be interesting to see what (if anything) happens. Expect it’ll pretty much go back to sleep again then till 3rd week in March. 1st week of Jan might see a decent spot or two perhaps.”
Is this the dawning of the age of Aquarius?
That’s a hairy thought.

savethesharks

Leif Svalgaard (20:48:17) :
And I have lost count of how many times I have clarified this point and, yes, railed against the misuse or conflation….
HUH?? Railed against the wha??
You take yourself WAY too seriously Leif. I ask a simple \question.
Leave it to you to turn one question into a silly drama of “who-said” “what-said”.
Sorry I ever blankety-blanked asked.
Do me a favor: If you don’t like the question….then don’t respond.
Geez.
Anyways…..back to the topic at hand.
Damn….that is SOME sunspot.
Chris
Norfolk, VA, USA

Jimmy Haigh

william (18:36:38) :
Gavin Schmidt isn’t very good at forecasting the future although he has a good record of hindcasting the past.

savethesharks (21:30:43) :
I ask a simple question.
And I give a simple answer.

p.g.sharrow "PG"

I would not totally dismiss “Aligner”. the solar system center of gravity will have some tidal effect on our slow boiling pot, the sun. The more stirring, the greater the turbulence in the metal hydrogen layers, the stronger the magnetic fields, and on and on.

p.g.sharrow “PG” (21:55:10) :
the solar system center of gravity will have some tidal effect on our slow boiling pot
No, it will not. As there is no mass at that point. Each planet individually will have a tidal effect. The largest such effect [Jupiter] raises a tidal bulge less than half a millimeter high.

savethesharks

Leif Svalgaard (21:51:45) :
No. You give a loaded answer.
You could have answered it simply as it was asked….sans all your invective and commentariy

John F. Hultquist

MC (19:34:47) You wrote: “those who were correct in their prediction can then claim the high ground for their prediction of climate effects in the future.”
This seems to be a stretch. Do solar experts claim to be “climate effects” futurists?

rbateman

When lost in the wilderness, a small cabin in a clearing must look like the Emerald City to the weary. The spot of today is in the same category as that of early July (5th to 9th). It could grow ever larger, but what comes next must wait for tomorrow.
As someone said to me recently, a big spot can come along, and expectations may go hog wild. Put it in context.

Leif Svalgaard (20:48:17) : “…I have lost count of how many times I have clarified this point and, yes, railed against the misuse or conflation.”
Based on my recollection, you’re up to 6 times at the very minimum in the past 12 months, Leif. Probably averaging over once a month, including SC24 threads.

Matt

What is the most spotted the sun has ever been? Does anyone have a picture of an especially spotted sun?

I would not want the world to be cold, I would want the world to be warm with verdant fields, bountiful crops and plentiful harvests.
This is how I would want the world to be.
But I do fear that Man caused disaster and Human suffering could be far worse than any mild cooling could bring.
Such is the prospect of Man’s desire to control other men.
This desire is strong and seemingly inborn in the make-up of Man.
Just so, a little cooling now, and the dissipation of the fever that drives men toward fantasies shimmering like mirages on a hot summer day.
A little cooling now will serve to relieve us from the prospects of misguided ventures in misbegotten actions that once done are hard to undo.
A little cooling now…like cool summer breeze…

tokyoboy

“Matt (22:59:36) : What is the most spotted the sun has ever been? ”
My favorite is that on 28 September 2001, namely 1.5 year after Cycle 23 peak (March 2000 IIRC). I remember getting it from SOHO page, but unfortunately the details of how. You may visit there and get one.

Jean Meeus

Adolfo Giurfa (18:22:25) :
“Question to those who know about these matters: If this spot is so near to the equator does it mean that solar cycle 24 is near its end?”
Don’t forget that, on a SOHO image, the solar equator doesn’t coincide exactly with the horizontal line passing through the center of the solar disk.
Around October 26, the center of that disk correspond to a heliographic latitude of +5 degrees. (‘Heliographic’ is to the Sun what ‘geographic’ is to the Earth). Consequently, on the recent SOHO images the solar equator is passing slightly BELOW the center of the image, and the heliographic latitude of the sunspot is slightly greater (northward) than what might be estimated at first sight.

Alan the Brit

Well, those jolly clever chaps & chapesses @ NASA did predict, with the aid of their fancy computer model that was believed to be perfection itself, that Cycle 24 would be fast & furious, so here it is!
Adolfo Giurfa (18:22:25) : You could be right, perhaps we’re are seeing a peaking cycle, we seem to only have a couple of years to go for that!

Johnny Honda

I have a very basic question, but I really couldn’t find the answer:
There’s this graph with the suncycles, on the x-axis is the year and on the y-axis there is a number, from zero to appr. 150 in the maximum of the cycle.
Is this number: The number of sunspots? The Wolf number? And most important: The number per week? Per month? per??

Aligner

Matt (22:59:36)
Try this NASA page.