Solar Minimum: A “relatively large” sunspot makes appearance

(Image: spaceweather.com)

(Source: Southgate ARC)

With Solar Minimum right around the corner, sunspot counts are at an almost 10-year low. So it came as a surprise yesterday when a relatively large sunspot emerged near the sun’s eastern limb.

AR2699 has a primary dark core larger than Earth with many smaller magnetic condensations trailing behind it, in all stretching more than 75,000 km across the sun’s surface.

Rare “solar minimum sunspots” are capable of intense explosions just like sunspots during more active phases of the solar cycle.

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7 thoughts on “Solar Minimum: A “relatively large” sunspot makes appearance

  1. DanH

    Better get used to propagation conditions that are as bad or worse than they are now for a while. While the Solar Minimum may be “right around the corner” it is about two years from now. Band conditions probably won’t get better than they are now for another four years. There will be exceptions, of course. Be ready to catch rises in the SFI index when they happen especially with conditions of low geomagnetic activity.

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    1. DanH

      This sun spot is already having a positive effect on SW propagation. 24 hours ago SFI was 68-69. Right now (2200 UTC) SFI is 75 with an inactive geomagnetic field. I am currently listening to excellent reception of RNZI on 15720. Yesterday it was pretty poor until 2300. It won’t be long before this sun spot stirs up the geomagnetic field.

      Reply
  2. TomL

    Thomas is correct, solar minimums tend to have few but unstable solar flares. Maybe some fireworks?

    In September, there was a large CME ejection that was massive but it was facing away from earth. Even so, it still registered on instruments and slightly affected our magnetosphere. This reconstruction was set to Wagner!

    Reply
  3. Tom Reitzel

    Sunspots are directly involved in the production of weather systems on Earth so this year will be interesting indeed on the High Plains. Grab your gear and prepare to take shelter underground … 😉 Hopefully, I’m wrong …

    Reply
  4. Guy Atkins

    Medium wave DXers are eagerly awaiting a “quiet sun” as solar minimum approaches. Typically, the chance for long distance MW DX increases when solar flux is low and you have a few days in a row without any significant geo-storming.

    I know this to be true for trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic MW DXing, but I don’t know if it necessarily applies to domestic (USA or Canada) medium wave reception.

    One brief example from the bottom of the last cycle: a recording of RTM Malaysia on 1475 kHz, heard in Grayland, Washington on Nov. 1, 2008: https://app.box.com/s/0t0pcp185ypc4mxjmysvlweqil9jbx5m
    Listen for the ID at 00:18-00:21″You are listening to Suara Malaysia, the Voice of Malaysia”. I also logged the same station from my Puyallup, WA home (about 110 miles inland from the coast) in September of that year, which was the bottom of Solar Cycle 24. The reception from home was actually a more noteworthy accomplishment.

    A day after the above recording, I also received Radio Farda, UAE, on 1575 kHz on a gray line reception at local sunset, a distance of over 7,500 miles.

    Finnish DXer Jim Solatie describes his top MW DXing catches from the 2007-2008 solar minimum period: http://www.dxing.info/articles/minimum_highlights.dx

    So, for shortwave DXers feeling despondent during solar minimum years, do as I did and try DXing the bands below shortwave!

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  5. Norea Armozel

    I wonder if the prognostication of some physicists are going to hold up on the claim that we’re in for a repeat of the Marauder Minimum in our lifetime (where we’ll see few or even no sunspots for decades). It’ll be quite interesting to see if that winds up being true in the coming years. It means higher HF propagation will be in the tank but maybe we can play more around the 80-40 meter ranges for listening. 🙂

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