For the second time this month, the sun has gone completely blank. On June 4th, the sun went completely spotless for the first time since 2011 and that quiet spell lasted for about 4 days. Sunspot regions then reappeared for the next few weeks on a sporadic basis, but are once again completely missing from the surface of the sun. The blank sun is a sign that the next solar minimum is approaching and there will be an increasing number of spotless days over the next few years.
At first, the blankness will stretch for just a few days at a time, then it’ll continue for weeks at a time, and finally it should last for months at a time when the sunspot cycle reaches its nadir. The next solar minimum phase is expected to take place around 2019 or 2020. The current solar cycle is the 24th since 1755 when extensive recording of solar sunspot activity began and is the weakest in more than a century with the fewest sunspots since cycle 14 peaked in February 1906. READ MORE