NYT: Which Planet are you on?

And which sun are you looking at?

The New York Times' Kenneth Chang writes:
A week ago, a solitary sunspot blemished an otherwise blank yellow disk. In the ensuing days, a few more specks appeared, but even a small explosion, or coronal mass ejection, last Thursday seemed like the halfhearted effort of a slacker star.
Say what?  While it is true that there have not been flares pointed at us lately, that does not denote a lack of solar weather. 

From the Big Bear Solar Observatory solar activity report:

BBSO Solar Activity Report 24 September 2013 19:21:45 UT
    Solar activity is low. No significant flare events have been observed overnight or so far today. No significant flare events are expected today.
NOAA 11849, N19 W33 (X= 494,Y= 217). Beta region.
NOAA 11846, S18 W13 (X= 205,Y=-402). Alpha region.
NOAA 11850, N08 E15 (X=-246,Y= 21). Beta region.
NOAA 11851, S16 E46 (X=-663,Y=-340). Alpha region.
Positions as of September 24, 2013 at 15:00 UT.
The NOAA positions listed above are trackable solar weather systems moving across the surface of our favorite fusion engine.  These areas are active.  These areas produce X-rays and particle streams that cause the current state of the earth's magnetosphere to be listed as "unsettled".

The image here looks different than the plain yellow circle published by the NYT. 

Solar maximum has to do with sciencey lingo about long-term solar weather patterns, not today's or this week's or this month's solar weather. 

Note that some of my links above will always show the latest information, and conditions change.  Talking about solar weather is still, well, talking about the weather.  If you hunt around the N3KL site or the BBSO site you can find archive information by date. 

I wonder what NYT headline we may see in January:  "What Lind of Winter is This? No Killer Blizzard in Weeks!"

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