Spotless

MaxPower March 24th, 2009

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I have been following the case for sunspots over the past 6 – 9 months, writing about it a number of times.

Well it is time for an update.

NASA’s Dr. Tony Philips, who runs Spaceweather.com said:

Where have all the sunspots gone? As of yesterday, March 21st, the sun has been blank on 85% of the days of 2009. If this rate of spotlessness continues, 2009 will match 1913 as the blankest year of the past century. A flurry of new-cycle sunspots in Oct. 2008 prompted some observers to declare that solar minimum was ending, but since then the calm has returned. We are still in the pits of a deep solar minimum.

There has also been talk on the various science and space blogs that recent sunspots have been confusing in that their magnetic polarity has been the opposite of what most observers would expect in solar cycle 24.

I don’t know what is going on, but even from my comfy position as an arm-chair physicist that picture looks like a spotless sun. However, apparently even NASA doesn’t know what is going on. Check out this animated gif of the revisions to NASA’s sunspot number prediction graph. That is some good predicting NASA.