Note that a small sunspot group might be appearing today at the NE limb. Given its high latitude (27° N), there is a fair chance that it belongs to the new solar activity cycle. If a reversed magnetic polarity is confirmed by magnetograms of the new few days, it would be the first observed spot of the next solar cycle. The solar wind speed is still high (600km/s). Unsettled to active geomagnetic conditions are thus predicted for the next 24 to 48 hours, when the fast solar wind stream will finally decay.
The tiny area that has rotated onto the eastern limb does appear to be a Cycle 24 spot. In the first images it did seem to have a tiny spot associated with it. The most recent image "as of this post" appears to be a plage area. In the new magnetogram it does however have the proper magnetic signature to classify it as Cycle 24. VE3EN
The first solar-cycle-24 sunspot group has further developed and is now numbered as NOAA active region 981. No flaring activity is expected in the coming few days. Meanwhile the solar wind has increased roughly from 300 to 600 km/s, due to a recurrent coronal hole, and has triggered geomagnetic activity at the K=4 level. These active geomagnetic conditions are expected to persists till early next week.
NASA's Hathaway, along with colleague Robert Wilson at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco last month, said that Solar Cycle 24 "looks like it's going to be one of the most intense cycles since record-keeping began almost 400 years ago." They believe the next solar maximum should peak around 2010 with a sunspot number of 160, plus or minus 25. "This would make it one of the strongest solar cycles of the past fifty years -- which is to say, one of the strongest in recorded history." Four of the five biggest cycles on record have come in the past 50 years. "Cycle 24 should fit right into that pattern," Hathaway said.