Update: After a number of “false” starts it appears the cycle is underway. Opinions vary, but generally its believed that it is not likely to be a strong cycle. So, hams, start your radios! If, as it is believed, we are entering a rather long period of low solar activity, windows of opportunity might not be that great for the next few years. And if you’ve never seen sunspots up close, get out your telescope with an intact good quality, good condition, solar filter over the front element and check them out.

Caution: NEVER, EVER, EVER VIEW THE SUN WITH A NAKED SCOPE OR WITH A CHEAP EYEPIECE FILTER! NEVER, EVER, DO IT! NEVER! YOU WILL REGRET IT EVERY DAY FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE! (not meaning to sound shrill, but the retinal burn is instantaneous and permanent).

Update:After a drought, perhaps cycle 24 (25?) is about to get started – updating image below is from the “Soho” link in the sidebar.

Extreme ultraviolet Imaging Telescope. EIT304: Taken at 304 Angstrom the bright material is at 60,000 to 80,000 degrees Kelvin.

Extreme ultraviolet Imaging Telescope. EIT304: Taken at 304 Angstrom the bright material is at 60,000 to 80,000 degrees Kelvin.

Michelson Doppler Imager, Continuum: images shown here are taken in the continuum near the Ni I 6768 Angstrom line. The most prominent features are the sunspots.

Michelson Doppler Imager, Continuum: images shown here are taken in the continuum near the Ni I 6768 Angstrom line. The most prominent features are the sunspots.

MDI Magnetogram.  The magnetogram image shows the magnetic field in the solar photosphere, with black and white indicating opposite polarities.

MDI Magnetogram. The magnetogram image shows the magnetic field in the solar photosphere, with black and white indicating opposite polarities.

Advertisements