Spotless Days & What That Means

Over at SpaceWeather they explain all about our current 'solar minimum' (relating to the current lack of sunspots, which have been on-the-decrease for the last five years). Last year had the least number of sunspots since 1913. This year may have even less; already 88% of 2009-days have been spotless.

Our sun has (approximately) an 11-year cycle of sun-spot activity and 2009 could be a record minimum 'calm' year. The last 'solar minimum' peaked in 1996; the current one began in 2004.

How does this effect us? There are less auroras (except there may be one Thursday/Friday this week in the extreme northern latitudes because of a solar hole). And, the sun is cooler and heats the earth (a fraction) less. Oh, and that photo in the top corner of this post is really very nice—isn't it?—without any pesky spots.

If you're looking for excitement, there isn't any. But, then that's science...not apocalyptic, not miraculous, not even particularly essomenic, just logically informative.

Warm summer sun, shine kindly here. Warm southern wind, blow softly here. Green sod above, lie light, lie light. Good night, dear heart, good night, good night. — Mark Twain

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