Wednesday, 13 November 2019 - 18:02 UTC
A small sunspot region has rotated into view on the south-east limb. No big deal you say? Well... it might be a sign of things to come! More on that later. We also have a southern hemisphere coronal hole facing our planet today which could spark some high latitude aurora in a few days time. Plenty to talk about today!
A small sunspot region has rotated into view on the south-east limb. The NOAA SWPC has assigned sunspot number 2752 to this sunspot region earlier today. The region consists of multiple sunspots but all of them are very small. A substantial amount of facuale surrounds the sunspot region which could indicate the region might have been bigger on the far side and has decayed over the past few days. The most interesting thing about this sunspot region is that it is most certainly a sunspot region that belongs to the upcoming Solar Cycle (SC) 25. It is at a high latitude (sunspot regions from SC24 pop up near the equator) and of opposite polarity compared to sunspot regions from SC24 in the same hemisphere. Two key benchmarks indicating we are dealing with a sunspot region from SC25.
Make no mistake, we could see solar minimum like conditions for many more months to come but we have seen slightly more solar activity in the southern hemisphere the past few weeks which could mean Solar Cycle 25 is slowly starting to get a grip on the Sun's southern hemisphere. It is a sign that Solar Cycle 24 is slowly coming to an end and Solar Cycle 25 is starting to show its face. The Sun's northern hemisphere is much more quiet. It's not uncommon that one hemisphere shows more or less activity than the other but this activity in the southern hemisphere is something I thought would be interesting to point out.
Also, in case you are wondering... this sunspot region is of course not complex enough to produce C, M or X-class solar flares.
A northern extension of the southern polar coronal hole is facing our planet today. A high speed solar wind stream from this coronal could arrive this Saturday (16 November). Based on its performance during the previous rotation, we expect at most a Kp of 3 which would only be enough for high latitude locations but if you are one of the lucky ones at such a location and have access to clear skies... by all means be alert for aurora as we head into the weekend!
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