Originally posted by whoshotJR
This is the start of our next solar cycle and its one that scientists have been talking about.
The next solar cycle may or may not be beginning -- we don't have enough data to determine that yet. Scientists usually do not notice the end of the solar minimum until a few months after it actually happens, because everything is based on "trends".
Having said that, it is quite possible that you are correct in saying that a new solar cycle is beginning (and scientists have been saying this for a while now). However, if it IS later determined that the current solar cycle has in fact ended and we are headed into a new cycle, I don't think it will be this sunspot (sunspot #1024) that would be considered to have signaled the beginning of the cycle, but rather the sunspots that occurred last month (sunspot #1023 or sunspot #1022).
Therefore, when you say "this is the start of the next solar cycle", I don't want other people to be confused -- the sunspot seen on July 4th is probably NOT the start of the next cycle. If the statistical data later shows us that solar activity is increasing, that cycle will probably be determined to have started back in June, or perhaps late May.
But you are right -- by looking at the solar cycles for the last 200 years, we can predict that the current 11-year cycle should be ending this year.
[edit on 7/9/2009 by Soylent Green Is People]