The official sunspot number is zero for the first time since 2011. That year saw only two sunspot-free days.
In 2008-2009 the sun plunged into a solar minimum that was the deepest for a century, with 260 spot-free days recorded in 2009.
NASA scientists don’t think we have seen the end of sunspots just yet though. Instruments show that deep down inside the sun, the solar dynamo is still churning and the blobs of magnetism that form sunspots will continue to rise to the surface for a while yet.
The very weak maximum of the current cycle, number 24, is not yet over but with the maximum so weak, it may mean that we will enter a prolonged minimum when it does eventually occur.
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Contributed by Chris Carrington of The Daily Sheeple.
Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies. Chris is an editor for The Daily Sheeple. Wake the flock up!