Sunspot 1030 – Now It’s Getting Weird

| November 6, 2009

spots.jpg

As most of you remember, I keep a close eye on the state of the Sun, as it is my theory that its variable nature has been the driving force for many events in human history. This is even more the case today with arguments over climate trends and heating or cooling – could the Sun, which is the only source of energy (except for nuclear) for the whole planet really be the major factor in if we freeze or bake?

More importantly, for the last few years the Sun has been in a deep solar minimum, with long periods of time passing between a few anemic sun spots, and almost no solar flares. In addition the total output of the sun has been dropping for the past few years, with 2008 being one of the lowest in the past few decades – less energy reaching the earth.

Sun watchers were cheered recently when the first healthy, vigorous sunspot group appeared, possibly pointing to the long expected upswing in solar cycle 24 (the current cycle). The upswing is long overdue (at least 2 years).

Now this thing emerges, Sunspot 1030 (all sunspots get numbers). Why is this little spot such a problem?

It’s backwards!

Each solar cycle, the polarity (which side is black vs white on the above image) reverses, all cycle 24 spots should be white on the left and black on the right.

What does this mean, it means that solar physicists and amateurs like me are now arguing about it all. This is either a throwback to cycle 23 or a cycle 25 spot showing up early. Either way it’s another indication that our Sun is in a normal part of its variable cycle that we have not (in our limited history) seen before.

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About the Author ()

Bruce Henderson is a former Marine who focuses custom data mining and visualization technologies on the economy and other disasters.

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  1. unsquander says:

    “Fallen Angels” by Niven, Pournelle & Flynn