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A Big New Sunspot Emerges


BIG NEW SUNSPOT: Just yesterday, sunspot 1035 was nearly invisible.

Today, it is as wide as seven planet Earths.

The fast-growing active region burst into view on Dec. 14th with a magnetic polarity that clearly identifies it as a member of new Solar Cycle 24.  If the expansion continues apace, it could soon become the largest sunspot of the year.

Yesterday, Rogerio Marcon of Campinas, Brazil, photographed a maelstrom of hot plasma and magnetic filaments connecting the sunspot’s dark cores (picture below).

“Solar activity is picking up,” he says.

The magnetic polarity of the spot identifies it as a member of Solar Cycle 24–the cycle we’ve been waiting for to end the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century.

One spot isn’t enough to end the lull, but sunspot 1035 could herald bigger things to come.




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