Observations taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) on the 24th December have now shown that the new solar cycle (number 25) has started. This can be deduced from looking at the magnetic polarity of the sunspots.
Over the past 2 months the Sun has been remarkably clear of sunspots and active regions. The SDO observations of active regions 2753 and 2754 herald the start of a more active phase in the Sun's cycle.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Image courtesy of NASA/SDO and the Royal Observatory Belgium Solar Terrestrial Centre of Excellence (STCE)
For full details of this report please see the STCE report :