A harbinger of Solar Cycle 25?

On November 19, 2018, Dr. Tony Phillips reported in his A Sunspot from the Next Solar Cycle article that an ephemeral sunspot with a reversed magnetic field was detected by Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory at 21:00 UT on November 17th, 2018. This sunspot matches two previously reported spots and suggests that the “ slow transition between Solar Cycle 24 and Solar Cycle 25 appears to be underway.”1

What does this mean? First, it suggests that the solar cycle is still operative. This contradicts widespread internet buzz that a Grand Minimum is in the offing, with no new sunspots expected for decades as the solar cycle grinds to a halt. Second, if patterns of previous solar cycles hold, Solar Minimum is not finished. It will probably continue to deepen in the year or so ahead even as new Solar Cycle 25 sunspots occasionally pop up, promising an ultimate end to the lassitude.1

  1. “A Sunspot from the Next Solar Cycle”, spaceweather.com, retrieved December 27 2018, https://spaceweatherarchive.com/2018/11/20/a-sunspot-from-the-next-solar-cycle/. [return]