Tuesday, April 08, 2008

New Cycle 24 Spot Emerges

After a couple of days with no visible sunspots whatsoever, a tiny Cycle 24 spot has just emerged.

Currently, there is something of a controversy over the precise nature of Cycle 24. While the mainstream prediction is for a fairly energetic cycle, there is an alternate theory. Its proponents argue that the length of Cycle 23 (longest ever recorded) is evidence that Cycle 24 will be late and weak, and in fact will begin a long term decline in solar activity leading to a sort of mini Maunder Minimum (the period in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries of no sunspots at all, and a mini ice age in Europe). This, of course, would pretty much spell the end of consistent F-region skip propagation above 21 MHz.

Note that recent fading on HF was the result of a coronal hole, not sunspots or solar flares.

We shall see what we shall see.