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Solar Minimum Facts

Solar Minimum coming early, per NASA.

Something strange happened on the sun last week: all the sunspots vanished. This is a sign, say scientists, that solar minimum is coming sooner than expected. Solar physicist David Hathaway has been checking the sun every day since 1998, and every day for six years there have been sunspots. Sunspots are planet-sized "islands" on the surface of the sun. They are dark, cool, powerfully magnetized, and fleeting: a typical sunspot lasts only a few days or weeks before it breaks up. As soon as one disappears, however, another emerges to take its place. Even during the lowest ebb of solar activity, you can usually find one or two spots on the sun. But when Hathaway looked on Jan. 28, 2004, there were none. The sun was utterly blank. It happened again last week, twice, on Oct. 11th and 12th. There were no sunspots."This is a sign," says Hathaway, "that the solar minimum is coming, and it's coming sooner than we expected."
Solar Cycle Update

Solar Minimum defined as the period of minimum sunspot activity.

Solar Minimum: A period of decreased solar activity when the number of sunspots reaches a minimum in the 11-year solar cycle.

And in November, the early Solar Minimum hypothesis proved otherwise. Which is why the ZetaTalk on this issue was titled Solar Minimum?

Signs of the Times #1230
Sunspot 696 has produced two more big explosions: an M8-flare on Nov 9 and an X2-flare on Nov 10. At least one CME is heading for Earth as a result of the blasts. Stay tuned for more auroras! A strong geomagnetic storm is in progress. It began on Nov. 9th after a coronal mass ejection hit Earth's magnetic field. [and from another source] Geophysical Activity Forecast: The Geomagnetic field is expected to be unsettled to major storm levels on Nov 9 due to the arrival of a CME associated with the X2.0 flare observed on Nov 7. Nov 9 an M-Class Flare, Nov 10 an X-Class Flare.