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2016 November 22

Click for movie. Also available on YouTube.

The Solar Cycle Clock

Solar activity follows an 11-year cycle, swaying between periods of low and high activity. We are nearing the end of solar cycle 24 and thus entering a period of low solar activity. We can't say for certain when solar cycle 25 will start but it should happen sometime around 2019.

The graphic above and accompanying movie depicts composite images of the Sun using Hinode/XRT and either SOHO/MDI (2008-2010) or SDO/HMI (2011-present), one for each year of the 11-year cycle.

At 11 o'clock (4 Jan 2008), the solar cycle begins with a stretch of low solar activity. As the Sun gets deeper into the cycle, the number of sunspots increase. Solar activity was highest between 3-8 o'clock (2011-2016).

According to the clock above, the Sun is at 8:56 in the 11 year cycle. When the clock strikes 11, we'll begin to see signs of the next cycle.

Keywords: Solar Cycle, Full Disk
Filters: Ti_poly, Al_poly, SDO/HMI, SOHO/MDI

(Prepared by Patricia Jibben)

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