Our sun erupted with activity, sported several sunspots and unleashed massive solar flares just last month in what scientists dubbed a «solar mini max.» But now, the sun appears to have gone strangely quiet.
In fact, the side that faces …
That’s a bit unusual, given that scientists believe the sun is in solar maximum, a period of peak activity during the sun’s roughly 11-year solar cycle. The sun is currently in solar cycle No. 24, since scientists first started tracking sunspot variation in 1755.
"It is weird, but it’s not super weird," solar physicist Tony Phillips wrote on his website, Spaceweather.com, according to the Los Angeles Times. "To have a spotless day during solar maximum is odd, but then again, this solar maximum we are in has been very wimpy."
Phillips first reported low solar activity on July 15, 2014. In days following, he noticed a continuing trend of few sunspots and low X-ray output, which he dubbed the "All Quiet Event."
This kind of behavior might be expected during the sun’s solar minimum, its period of lowest activity. For instance, in 2008, during its last solar minimum, the sun went 266 days with no observable sunspots. But a sunspot-free day is uncommon during solar maximum.