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The current solar cycle began on 4 January 2008 with the emergence of a small bipolar active region in the north. Hinode XRT has been tracking the evolution of the current solar cycle and the data we collect could help determine why the cycles vary so much.
This image is composed of several XRT images taken at the beginning of every year since 2008. Most of the images are composites of 4 seperate images taken at different pointings to obtain a view of the extended corona. The 2008 and 2009 years are single images. The images are superimposed over the smoothed monthly sunspot number produced by the IPS Radio and Space Services website.
The number of solar active regions sharply decreased in the last 2 years but it hasn't yet reached solar minimum. On average the solar cycle lasts 11 years so this cycle could have
its minimum sometime in 2019.