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The Sunset of Solar Cycle 24

Dear <<First Name>>,

Just last week I was celebrating the emergence of a sunspot after a long wait with a spotless Sun. This week we continue the celebration as two high latitude bright regions with magnetic signatures of the coming Solar Cycle 25 join the existing Cycle 24 sunspot already in Earth-view. Although these regions didn't last long together, (they were only coincident for a few days before they fizzled), the show was definitely noteworthy-- we don't typically see such clear signatures of both cycles at the same time! Indeed, after the show was over, follow-on discussions with a solar physicist at NCAR/UCAR has led me to believe a more organized magnetic field structure has emerged on the Sun over the past couple weeks. This is a promising sign that Cycle 25 might finally be showing real signs of activation. If we continue to see high-latitude bright regions like these, it will indicate that these regions will soon strengthen into real sunspots over the next few months! 

As for the forecast this week, we have a remnant coronal hole that is rotating through the Earth-strike zone, causing some sporadic disturbances at Earth. In fact, this coronal hole has been sending us some sporadic fast solar wind and has bumped us to active conditions several times over the past few days. Despite the activity, aurora views have been fleeting, even high-latitudes. In addition, the quiet space weather means solar flux has remained low, with radio propagation on Earth's dayside continuing to be poor. However, GPS (GNSS) reception has been and will continue to be decent over most of the globe this week.

So although solar activity is reasonably subdued and the Sun remains relatively spotless overall, there is a lot of promise. Recent signs of multiple high latitude cycle 25 active regions are encouraging. No doubt, these budding active regions point to a change that's on the not-too-distant horizon. It may be that our Sun may not yet be ready to commit fully to the dawn of cycle 25, but perhaps at the very least, we may be witnessing the sunset of Solar Cycle 24. I will keep my fingers crossed. 


Two Solar Cycles at Once & A Big Meteor Nearly Hits | Space Weather News 10.10.2019

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