Eerie image revealed as solar activity remains the quietest it has been in more than a century - and some claims it could even trigger a mini ice age
By Ellie Zolfagharifard
February 15, 2016
The sun is in the midst of its quietest period in more than a century.
Several days ago, it was in ‘cue ball’ mode, with an incredible image from Nasa showing no large visible sunspots seen on its surface.
Astronomers say this isn’t unusual, and solar activity waxes and wanes in 11-year cycles, and we’re currently in Cycle 24, which began in 2008.
However, if the current trend continues, then the Earth could be headed for a ‘mini ice age’ researchers have warned.
We’ve had the smallest number of sunspots in this cycle since Cycle 14, which reached its maximum in February of 1906.
‘With no sunspots actively flaring, the sun’s X-ray output has flatlined,’ wrote Vencore Weather.
‘The number of nearly or completely spotless days should increase over the next few years as we continue to move away from the solar maximum phase of cycle 24 and approach the next solar minimum phase and the beginning of solar cycle 25.’
‘The current level of activity of solar cycle 24 seems close to that of solar cycle number 5, which occurred beginning in May 1798 and ending in December 1810,’ added an analysis by Watts Up With That.
The previous solar cycle, Solar Cycle 23, peaked in 2000-2002 with many furious solar storms.
During Solar Max, huge sunspots and intense solar flares are a daily occurrence. Auroras appear in Florida. Radiation storms knock out satellites.
The last such episode took place in the years around 2000-2001.
During Solar Minimum, the opposite occurs. Solar flares are almost non-existent while whole weeks go by without a single, tiny sunspot to break the monotony of the blank sun. This is what we are experiencing now.