Many have been keeping a watchful eye on solar activity recently. The most popular thing to watch has been sunspots. While not a direct indication of solar activity, they are a proxy for the sun's internal magnetic dynamo. There have been a number of indicators recently that it has been slowing down.

August 2008 has made solar history. As of 00 UTC (5PM PST) we just posted the first spotless calendar month since June 1913. Solar time is measured by Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) so it is now September 1st in UTC time. I've determined this to be the first spotless calendar month according to sunspot data from NOAA's National Geophysical Data Center, which goes back to 1749. In the 95 years since 1913, we've had quite an active sun. But that has been changing in the last few years. The sun today is a nearly featureless sphere and has been for many days:

And there are other indicators. For example, some solar forecasts have been revised recently because the forecast models haven't matched the observations. Australia's space weather agency recently revised their solar cycle 24 forecast, pushing the expected date for a ramping up of cycle 24 sunspots into the future by six months.

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Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your roundup of Obama news and commentary at OBAMA WATCH

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