IN late December last year, some tiny sunspots at a high latitude with reversed polarity (compared with spots belonging to this cycle) were observed.
(Sunspots belonging to the next cycle generally have the opposite polarity compared with those belonging to the current cycle. Also, new cycle activity appears at high solar latitudes and the spots drift closer to the solar equator as the cycle proceeds.)
Then, earlier this month, another few spots were observed at high latitude also with reversed polarity. This together with some spotless but active regions known as "plage" at high latitudes this month. Then, today, I read this on http://www.solen.info/solar/ -
This could be very good news." The first cycle 25 spot observable at a 1K resolution was noted for several hours today. At noon the active region was located at N43W14, see linked image produced by my automatic spot counting software:
http://www.solen.info/solar/images/2017 ... ots_1k.png
The appearance of a cycle 25 region now could point to a solar cycle minimum in about a year.
It may mean that:
**The solar minimum could be sooner than expected.
** It could well be a relatively shallow minimum (the last one in 2008/9 was very deep)
** Cycle 25 could well be larger than Cycle 24 was, though current forecasts based on the extent of solar magnetic fields (which reverse once a cycle, at solar max) currently suggest that C25 will likely be equal or perhaps slightly larger than C24.
We shall see. But it could well be that predictions of a prolonged solar minimum ( "Dalton Minimum" ) could well be exaggerated.