12:30 PM | Suddenly, a big jump in sunspots


2013 is now well underway and this is the year that the current solar cycle 24 is supposed to reach a solar maximum. This cycle, which has been relatively weak so far, began in the 2008/2009 time frame after a long minimum period with virtually no sunspot activity that followed solar cycle 23. While the last part of 2012 was quite quiet on the sun in terms of solar flares and overall sunspot activity, the New Year has suddenly brought about a rapid increase in sunspot numbers suggesting the quiet may not last much longer. In fact, over the weekend a plethora of new sunspot groups appeared on the sun and each one of these has the potential for eruptions. These newly visible sunspot regions will rotate over the next several days to the zone on the sun directly facing the Earth and we’ll continue to monitor the situation for any possible eruptions that could have an effect on the Earth’s atmosphere.