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2021 April 06

Image of the Sun from April 2020 Image of the Sun from April 2021

Images of the Sun in April of 2020 (left) and 2021 (right)

Things Change, Things Stay the Same

Although the official end of Cycle 24 and the Solar Minimum was determined to have occurred in December of 2019, you wouldn’t know it by looking at the Sun right now. Much like here on Earth, a lot has changed since Spring of last year. Since then we have seen an uptick in the average number of sunpots/ARs on the Solar Disk and even some major solar events. And yet, unfortunately much like here on Earth, things still look remarkably similar to this time a year ago. The above image shows what the Sun looked like in early April 2020 on the left with a look at the Sun now in April 2021 on the right.

While it may be a bit disappointing for us solar scientists and for all of us that enjoy observing major events on a highly active Sun, this is not exactly surprising. Solar cycle 25 is forecast to be similar to the previous cycle, which also took some time to consistently produce sunspots. Take a look at this interactive plot produced by the Space Weather Prediction Center to compare where we are so far in Cycle 25 to that same time period in Cycle 24. (Note the similarities between the February 2010 early peak before some downtime and the spike that we saw in November of 2020).

Keywords: Full Disk, Quiet Sun
Filters: Al_Poly

(Prepared by Lucas Guliano)

The XRT instrument team is comprised of SAO, NASA, JAXA, and NAOJ.

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