Home > Climate Change, Data, Global Warming, Omniclimate, Sun > Actually, It’s 71 Days Without A Sunspot

Actually, It’s 71 Days Without A Sunspot


Confusion reigns tonight on the date the last sunspot has been seen. Until yesterday, it had been July 18 with sunspot #1000.

But all of a sudden yesterday, a “pore” with a date of Aug 21 has been classified as “sunspot” by the SIDC and then the NOAA. Trouble is, nobody seems to have seen it apart from one observer in Catania, Italy.

Probably, as per Leif Svalgaard’s comment at Anthony Watt’s blog:

really, no spots or one tiny one doesn’t make any difference

Also, from another of Svalgaard’s comments

There are indications that the modern counts are too high with possible repercussions for reconstructions of TSI and the climate debate.

But if that’s true, then I can contend that the current spotless period is 71 days, starting with the end of sunspot #999 on June 23, 2008. And continuing to this day.

That makes the current spotless period the second longest ever (behind the 92 days of Apr 8 to Jul 8, 1913).


Sunspot #1000 in fact, was likely no “proper sunspot” at all. By that I mean a sunspot that would not have been spotted in the past, given its extremely tiny size.

The SOHO MDI archive may show something but only if the observer knows where to look (no I will not give clues). Chances are, none would have spotted it in 1913 either.

AND NOW FOR THE SPOT-THE-SPOT CHALLENGE: I am posting the July 17-20 series (remember, sunspot #1000 has been reported for July 18-20…good luck with finding it!):


SOHO Jul 17

SOHO Jul 17

SOHO Jul 18

SOHO Jul 18

SOHO Jul 19

SOHO Jul 19

SOHO Jul 20

SOHO Jul 20


(spoiler ahead)



Here’s the one and only one picture of sunspot #1000 I have found on the internet, in an Australian internet forum. Its author clarifies, though:

The spot is not as big as shown, just a product of the poor seeing/focus

Sunspot #1000

Sunspot #1000

Just compare all the above with the pictures from Jun 21, where a proper sunspot is visible indeed:

SOHO Jun 21

SOHO Jun 21

How many pores and microspots were flickering in and out of existence during the Maunder Minimum, one wonders…

  1. Johnny Zornes
    2009/05/03 at 16:27

    On spaceweather.com, they also count the spotless days and compare their observations to the cycle in 1913. Time and time again I see them count some sunspeck as a spot and restart the count and like you, I look at a blowup version of the sun and have not been able to see anything reasonable. And then they claim it is a fair comparsion to how sunspots were counted in the past. For some reason they want to minimize the real depth of this sunspot cycle and act like it’s just as normal as any. Ref: Hathaway (Nasa) “What’s wrong with the sun – nothing”

    • 2009/05/03 at 20:02

      Sadly the end result is that sunspot counting has shown itself to be an inexact art form. We need some other way to measure the magnetic activity of our star…

  2. don
    2008/10/21 at 22:25

    Not a spot – looks more like Al Gore’s belly button.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that, er anything.

  3. Widebandit
    2008/09/06 at 06:34

    Alright folks here’s solar viewing 101:
    Solar astronomers have long abandoned naked-eye smoked-glass solar observations. They now use solar telescopes to look at sunspots. Such instruments are arranged so that what would normally be the eye-end of the telescope is actually a projection lens that casts a very large image of the sun onto a flat, table-top viewing screen inside a darkened room. The telescope itself is usually fixed in place and sunlight is reflected into the objective lens – the big lens in front that looks at the object – by the use of a motor-driven, optically flat mirror called a heliostat.
    Solar telescopes are usually much smaller than night-time telescopes. One, because there’s plenty of light – it’s the sun after all, and two, because the image resolution need only be the same as allowed by atmospheric turbulence.
    The Kitt peak solar telescope has a projection table several feet across with a projected solar image size about 2 – 3 feet in diameter. With such a large image, a small ‘pore’ would be relatively easy to see – were it not for daytime atmospheric turbulence caused by – solar heating.
    Galileo suposedly made his solar drawings by looking directly through his telescope – which is probably responsible for his blindness. For those of you who may question the relevance or accuracy of his observations, a series of his solar drawings have been compiled into a movie and you can clearly see the sun’s differential rotation as Galileo’s drawn spots move across the solar disk (he probably could be credited as the first animated cartoon artist)…WaW…

  4. 2008/09/03 at 07:55

    Agreed. I cannot see how that minute spot would have been noticed or if so even considered as a spot. As for further back in time, viewing the sun through smoked glass or whatever – only really large spots would be observed.In fact its surprising that they saw as many as they did.

  1. 2008/09/07 at 17:21
  2. 2008/09/04 at 23:39
  3. 2008/09/03 at 16:40

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