New Solar Cycle Sunspot
After many weeks of a blank sun with no sunspots and very few sunspots this entire year, a small new sunspot emerged Sept. 23, 2008. This new spot has both the magnetic orientation and the high-latitude position of a sunspot belonging to the new solar cycle, Cycle 24.
Will this be the harbinger of more solar changes to come and mark the beginnings of a rise in solar activity in the near future? Only time will tell. If the pattern from the record of the past 400 years holds, we can expect that solar activity will begin to show an increase in the next few months.
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Image Credit: Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (EIT), NASA/ESA