What’s With the Sun?

They come; they go. Sunspots, that is, but this article notes something of uniqiue interest.

For centuries, astronomers have recorded when these dark blemishes on the solar surface emerge, only for them to fade away again after a few days, weeks or months. Thanks to their efforts, we know that sunspot numbers ebb and flow in cycles lasting about 11 years.

But for the past two years, the sunspots have mostly been missing. Their absence, the most prolonged for nearly a hundred years, has taken even seasoned sun watchers by surprise. “This is solar behaviour we haven’t seen in living memory,” says David Hathaway, a physicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

I know, I know. Another thing to worry about, right? No, another thing to think about. Thinking’s harder.

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