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SPACE WEATHER WOMAN

Officially Recognizing What We Already Knew


Dear <<First Name>>,

Have you heard the news? Just yesterday both NASA and NOAA had a joint meeting to discuss the "official" status of the solar cycle. It should come as no surprise to everyone in this community that their joint consensus is that solar minimum occurred in December of 2019. We can finally celebrate the arrival of Solar Cycle 25!  But, we knew that already. In fact, we  have been watching the new cycle gain momentum for more than six months now. I remember discussions back at the AGU meeting in the Moscone Center last December (see the picture above), during which many of us progressives in the field already agreed the new cycle was starting. At the the time it was undeniable that we were seeing more new cycle sunspots emerging than sunspots from the old cycle. but we knew it could be at least another year before the official channels recognized the change. So glad we are finally here!

What does this mean for us? Well, one nice consequence of this official report is that it means there's enough evidence of new cycle activity to convince even the most conservative scientists in our field that Solar Cycle 25 has begun. It also means that activity will continue to trend upward, albeit slowly at first. This is good news, considering as of now, it looks like the Sun has hit the snooze button on that "new cycle" alarm. Perhaps the Sun hasn't yet gotten the memo officially recognizing what we already knew?  Lucky for us though, we are still seeing solar storms being launched, including big filament eruptions again. Those we haven't seen in quite some time!

So in a way, this week's forecast can be considered the first "official" forecast of the new solar cycle. (I say that with tongue in cheek, of course.)  To herald in the cycle, I do wish our star would show us a more lively face than the spotless disk that greets us right now. However, as I write this, I notice a large bright region just beginning to rotate into STEREO's view on the Sun's farside. Sure enough, it has a Solar Cycle 25 signature and is likely a new cycle sunspot.

...well, whadda'ya know. Perhaps the Sun did get that official memo after all.

Cheers,
Tamitha
 
Our Sun Has Bad Aim with Storms to the East & West | Solar Storm Forecast 09.15.2020
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