Solar Cycle Sunday

TWO SOLAR CYCLES ARE ACTIVE AT THE SAME TIME: Solar Minimum is here, and it is very deep. During this quiet nadir of solar activity, something happens that might surprise you: Two solar cycles become active at the same time. Yesterday’s sun displayed this counter-intuitive phenomenon:

Above: An extreme UV image of the sun with magnetic field maps inset. Credit: NASA/SDO

This image from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory shows two active regions on the sun–one north of the equator and once south. These are not sunspots. Instead, they are “hot spots” where magnetic fields have gathered with just enough intensity to bottle-up some glowing-hot plasma, but not quite enough strength to create a full-fledged sunspot.

The magnetic polarity of these two hot spots identifies them as members of different solar cycles (see: Hale’s Law). The southern hot spot comes from old Solar Cycle 24. The northern hot spot comes from new Solar Cycle 25. Adjacent solar cycles always overlap during Solar Minimum and, indeed, this is happening right now.

If forecasters are correct, Solar Cycle 25 will gain strength in the years ahead, ultimately dispatching old Solar Cycle 24. A new Solar Maximum comprised entirely of Solar Cycle 25 sunspots should arrive as early as 2023.


About Den

Always in search of interesting things to post. Armed with knowledge and dangerous with the ladies.
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14 Responses to Solar Cycle Sunday

  1. Micki says:

    Says quite a bit about our “culture” when there are law firms that “specialize in representing whistle-blowers…”


  2. Micki says:


    Here in the City of Subdued Excitement is was 40º F when I awakened — clear skies, stunning autumn leaves, calm…a perfect Pacific Northwest fall day.


  3. Micki says:

    Not very cheerful news on this gorgeous day….

    Last month, 32 Afghan pine nut harvesters — sitting around a fire after a day’s labor in the fields — were killed by a U.S. drone strike.

    A few days later: 40+ guests at a wedding party — including 12 children — were killed in a raid by U.S. backed Afghan forces.

    Last weekend: 5 more civilians were killed in a U.S. airstrike.

    These devastating events are far from a one-off: a BBC investigation found an average of 74 men, women, and children were killed every day in Afghanistan in August.

    The leading cause of death for civilians: airstrikes by U.S. and Afghan government forces.

    Eighteen years ago tomorrow, we started the war in Afghanistan — the longest war in modern U.S. history.

    This blank check for war, the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), approved by Congress in the days after 9/11, continues to be abused again and again to expand U.S. wars around the world with horrific human consequences.

    Impeachment is dominating the news — but other events, though not headline-grabbing (obviously!) are extremely consequential.


    • °¿º arol says:

      The Trump administration is always doing bad things and the press doesn’t get around to informing the public due to how Trump dominates the news. It’s like there isn’t enough time in the day to cover all things awful about Trump and his administration.


  4. Micki says:

    I just posted this comment at Frank Bruni’s NYT column — it’ll get lost in the flurry when you’re “late to the party” in terms of commenting as soon as an op/ed or news article hits the internet, but…oh well…

    Bellingham2m ago
    Frank’s NYT colleague, Maureen Dowd, did her part to help elect Donald Trump — which, in turn, has *normalized* trading principle for position. I know that might seem a stretch….but…

    Frank laments the “teeming crowd of sellouts and suck-ups who eagerly traded principle for position…” I believe Maureen traded principle for access. She has boasted about interviewing people in power, even having private epistolary correspondence with GHW Bush.

    I recently saw “Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins.” Molly was never a sell-out. She understood that rulers lie, which is reason enough to hold the powerful accountable. And, never let up.

    Molly was brave. She had courage. Not enough others who call themselves journalists can say the same.

    Frank, while you’re wondering how Pompeo, Graham, et al became sell outs, please ask your colleagues to take a look at themselves, too.


  5. °¿º arol says:

    Nothing to report. I’m going out for my walkabout shortly. Just need my hoody, it’s 55° right now.

    The neighbor mowed. I need to mow, hoping for a nice enough day this week.


  6. David B. Benson says:

    Interesting about 2 solar cycles, Den.

    A young male hawk on wing; an ant. A slow 16 minutes to the north door of the Hillside Cafe. The sun was momentarily just right to form two rainbows using the glass partition as a prism.


  7. Micki says:

    Reality check! Aging begins in the womb…it doesn’t start at age 50, 60, 70 or beyond. But, how we age depends on so many variables, some we have a bit of control over, some we don’t….


  8. David B. Benson says:

    Micki, do you know David Lewis? If not, recommend it.


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