Sunday, 11 November 2018 - 14:25 UTC
We are doing something new today, a guest post! Good friend of the website Christian Harris who is a passionate hobby astronomer and very knowledgeable in the field of space weather started a great discussion on Facebook about something which could signal that we are at solar minimum or just beginning with Solar Cycle 25. An intriguing post from Christian that we really wanted to share with you. Below you will find his post. Let us know what you think of Christian's observation!
Looks like Solar Cycle 25 has indeed begun.
The first photo is the mapping of how strong each hemisphere of the sun's magnetic field is, blue for the northern, red for southern, and black is the average field strength:
The second photo covers from about 2014 (SC24 maximum) to last month:
When the new solar cycle begins, the polarity strength of each hemisphere maxes, and then begins to decrease as the two hemispheres start to blend together.
The northern hemisphere appears to already have peaked and is decreasing, while the southern looks like it's just beginning to drop.
Also helps explain why the new sunspot was in the northern hemisphere.
The average magnetic field strength peaked a bit higher than the beginning of last cycle's, so hopefully this means a more active maximum. Though the amount of data we have compared to our star's lifespan is basically zero, so it's hard to tell.
Graphs courtesy of The Wilcox Solar Observatory.
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