Monday, March 03, 2008

Sunspots Hit Absolute Bottom

Recent pictures of the solar disk often show something we don't see often. This is a solar disk completely free of sunspots. In fact, the daily sunspot numbers have as often as not been zero in the past couple of weeks (a condition reported as SPOTNIL by people who are into these things). These numbers are not obtained by counting visible spots, but by counting visible active regions as 10, and individual spots as 1. Therefore there can't be any active regions either for 0 to be reached.

Today there's one active region, I think. It's a pretty weenie one. The recent fluctuations in the A and K index are due not to sunspots but to a coronal hole and southward interplanetary magnetic field (Bz).

Daily solar uncorrected solar radio fluxes from the observatory used by WWV have been running in the 68 range. Folks, it just doesn't get very much lower than this. It can't, with these laws of physics.

Today was the first time in a while that HF propagation was absolutely putrid. Let's face it. It sucked the big one.

All this is further evidence, as if we needed any, that Cycle 23 is ending. Yes, there's no where to go from here but up.