700 blank days and counting

The Sun has Lost it’s Spots (continued)

Today, it reached a count of 700 days.

On average, a solar minimum has 485 days where the surface of the sun is blank, with no sunspots appearing.  The solar minimum is the period in a sunspot cycle where the number of observed sunspots  is at its lowest. Sunspot cycles  average 11 years from beginning of minimum through maximum and back to the beginning of the next minimum.

sunspot free - august 27 2009

The current solar minimum began in 2004 and was predicted to end late in 2007.

Since the minimum began, there have been 700 days with no sunspots.

The last observed sunspot disappeared 47 days ago.  If there are no sunspots by this time next week, this will have been the longest period without any sunspots during this minimum.

Long solar minimums have been observed in the past. However, this is the first long minimum where we have had sensitive instruments that can monitor the sun.

The jury is still out on the meaning of this extended minimum.

Advocates of the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming discount any significant change in the energy received from the sun.  Others, however, point to previous periods of low sunspot and solar activity, which, by chance, happened to roughly correspond to the cold times of the Little Ice Age and the Dark Ages.

(to be continued in about a month or so)

Note: Previous posts on the sun were The Sun Has Lost Its Spots (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3) and The Sun Has Found Some Spots. I will be posting a continuation update about monthly.)


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