The big solar hotshots of 2013.


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The big solar hotshots of 2013.

The article is a nice and visually fascinating overview of the twelve most impressive solar events during the past year. Interestingly, I think #7 is the most significant in that it involved things that didn’t happen.

As small sunspot group NOAA 1838 was falling apart, another active region NOAA 1839 appeared just in time to avoid a spotless day, which would have been the first since 14 August 2011! A spotless day during a solar cycle maximum is not uncommon, but it remains of course a rare event. This absolute low in sunspot number highlighted a period of very low solar activity, with hardly any flares (no C-flares from 7 till 17 September: 11 consecutive days) and no (minor) geomagnetic storms for a full month! Meanwhile, the magnetic field near the solar north pole (finally) completed its reversal, whereas this magnetic flip is still ongoing at the south pole. These reversals testify we’re close to the maximum of solar cycle 24. [emphasis mine]

The phrases in bold clarify where we presently stand with the solar cycle. The southern magnetic field is in the process of reversing, but has not yet completed the flip.

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One comment

  • wodun

    Thanks.

    I saw a story linked on Drudge the other day but the video was behind a paywall at the Independent so didn’t know what it was about, other than the headline claimed pole reversal. I always come here to get the straight dope on the Sun.

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