I’m seeing spots…just not on the sun. What’s the deal? Normal low in a cycle or portents of strange things to come on Earth? Only time will tell.
For those of you that are Dr. Who fans, the title might have some extra meaning, but I am referring to the strange and sudden silence of the Sun.
The Sun has a cyclic period of activity that normally repeats every 11 years or so. We are currently in solar cycle 24 of the modern era.
Not only are we in this cycle, but we are at solar maximum, where the most activity by the Sun usually occurs. Lots of sunspots, flares, coronal mass ejections and the like.
But apart from the odd event, like some recent solar flares, the Sun has been very quiet. The drop off in activity is happening very quickly, and scientists are now watching closely to see if activity will continue to decline. The last time that the Sun was this quiet was in the 17th century, in a period known as the Maunder Minimum.
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