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Glossary term: Sunspot Cycle

Description: A new sunspot cycle begins after a period of solar minimum, which is a time when the Sun has few to no sunspots. At the beginning of a new sunspot cycle, sunspots form at around +/- 30 degrees (north or south) from the Sun's equator. As the cycle continues, new sunspots form at the latitudes closer to the solar equator. After a while the number of sunspots forming decreases as the cycle moves past solar maximum to solar minimum, which indicates the end of the cycle. This process takes about 11 years.

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The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".