March 29, 2008
Solar Cycle 23 doesn`t want to go away, with three new sunspots forming under the old regime, while Cycle 24 remains tepid.
How do we know these spots are from the old cycle? They give the characteristic magnetic ``signiature``; scientists can tell based on their magnetic polarity.
It`s not uncommon for two cycles to comingle at this juncture. Eventually the old cycle will disappear while the new cycle will take over. This particular new cycle started to appear then crapped out-something that happened at the time of the Dalton Minimum, which kicked off the Mini Ice Age. Now, Cycle 24 is likely merely tardy and will flower in due course, but it is something to consider.
At any rate, we are witnessing the remains of eleven year-old Cycle 23, and should raise a toast to the last days of an era!
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