Breaking News: We Have Sunspots, First for Over a Month

New sunspots observed on Aug. 21st (© Pavol Rapavy)
New sunspots observed on Aug. 21st (© Pavol Rapavy)

Just as we were getting concerned that the Sun may be facing an extended solar minimum, amateur astronomers, in the last few hours, have observed a new sunspot pair appearing around the Sun’s south-eastern limb. They are young, emergent spots, gradually getting larger. It will be interesting to see how they evolve. The observation above was taken by Pavol Rapavy in Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia, and now we have detailed images of the region by a British astronomer too (sounds like the Sun might be making an appearance for the UK summer at last!)…

This new active region appears to show a pair of sunspots (although it will be useful to see a magnetogram image to verify this) with a lot of fine-scale structure around the penumbrae. This may be a relief to many, as some scientists were concerned that should this period of extreme solar calm continue, we could have been facing an unprecedented modern era of low magnetic activity on the Sun.

The sunspot pair (© Pete Lawrence)
The sunspot pair (© Pete Lawrence)

These particular spots have been observed emerging from the eastern limb of the Sun. UK astronomer Pete Lawrence has also been monitoring the region, producing this detailed image.

So, we await news from the international space agencies’ solar observatories to shine some light on the Sun’s new arrivals…

Update: Having checked the SOHO website, it would appear the MDI Magnetogram might have detected the sunspot pair. Although it is not totally clear, to the far left of the disk we can see an intense spot of magnetic activity, possibly revealing the sunspot location.

Source: Space Weather

5 thoughts on “Breaking News: We Have Sunspots, First for Over a Month”

  1. Spaceweather.com which had previousy reported this sunspot has today announced that the face of the sun is once again blank. This is a trend that is emerging: a new tiny tim is spotted and then fades from existance within a day or so. These specs could never have been detected during the Maunder Minimum which makes me wonder if we are not heading into one.

  2. Viewpoint on Livingston Penn paper. No sunspots by 2015. Sooner. Apparently the magnetic field of the tiny tims was measured as being on their flux expectation.

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