Solar cycle 12 was the twelfth solar cycle since 1755, when extensive recording of solar sunspot activity began. The solar cycle lasted 11.3 years, beginning in December 1878 and ending in March 1890. The maximum smoothed sunspot number (monthly number of sunspots averaged over a twelve-month period) observed during the solar cycle was 74.6 (December 1883), and the minimum was 5. There were a total of approximately 736 days with no sunspots during this cycle. A very bright blood-red aurora display happened over New York on 16 April 1882, while significant communication disturbances occurred. A geomagnetic storm later in that year produced the aurora of November 17, 1882.