‘Backward’ Spot May Signal Solar Cycle

A new solar cycle, predicted to be a hectic and tempestuos one, may have begun at the end of last month. NASA solar physicists spotted a ‘backwards’ sunspot (one whose magnetic poles are opposite to the usual orientation) on July 31st, and have tentatively suggested it could be the herald of the next eleven year solar cycle. Of course its orientation, combined with its unusual latitude, could be a random fluke. But ‘cycle 24’ is on its way, sooner or later – it may be that it has just decided to cohabit with 23 for a few years.