A cat between the pigeons

A small sunspot region appeared on 1 October near the Sun's east limb. The spots were barely visible and the region had nearly disappeared a day later (see SDO image underneath), but it lasted long enough to produce a small B-class flare. This active region NOAA 2749 belonged to the old solar cycle (SC24), as can be deduced from its low latitude (-9 degrees) and magnetic configuration.

The sunspot group ended a stretch of 27 consecutive days without a single sunspot on the solar surface. Indeed, from 4 till 30 September, the Sun was blemishless and offered little excitement to solar observers (see SILSO graph underneath). This was the longest spotless period so far this solar cycle transition. Moreover, so far in 2019, the Sun was devoid of sunspots for 190 days. This makes it very likely that 2019 will accumulate more spotless days than 2018, and may even attempt to break the 265 days in 2008. That was one of the deepest cycle minima in a century, and it looks like the current transition is heading the same way. More graphs and details can be found on the Spotless Days page maintained by SILSO.




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