The above plot, updated on March 1, 2008, is the current sunspot cycle provided by the daily sunspot service at www.sec.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/

Sunspot Maximum will probably begin sometime in 2011 according to NOAA estimates .We will set our day counter for March 1, 2011 and reassess a better date in December 2010.

When will we arrive at sunspot maximum?

The new sunspot, identified as #10,981, is the latest visible spot to appear since NOAA began numbering them on January 5, 1972. Its high-latitude location at 27 degrees North, and its negative polarity leading to the right in the Northern Hemisphere are clear-cut signs of a new solar cycle, according to NOAA experts.

The new 11-year cycle, called Solar Cycle 24, is expected to build gradually, with the number of sunspots and solar storms reaching a maximum by 2011 or 2012.