back to article Our Sun's been using facial scrub: No spots for two weeks

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory has spotted nothing for the last two weeks, which is unusual. By “nothing” we mean no Sunspots, the magnetic fluctuations that cause the Sun to form dark spots that produce flares of star-stuff that can rise millions of kilometres into space. Big ones could swallow the Earth, with room left …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Blame it on climate change !!! Either that or it's saving up for 'The Big One' !!!

  2. Chairo
    Coat

    I saw lots of spots in both pictures

    And suddenly I realised that I need to clean my screen.

    The one with the small black spots, please. ------------->

  3. A_Melbourne

    Scientific Papers Predict Cooling In Coming Decades

    Good news.

    Soon enough the on-going gradual drop in worldwide temperatures will be difficult for the IPCC to fudge.

    Scientific Papers Predict Cooling In Coming Decades

    I guess the Russians will get the blame - as usual.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Scientific Papers Predict Cooling In Coming Decades

      That projection in figure 1 is absolutely comical. Did they get Donald Trump to draw it?

    2. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Scientific Papers Predict Cooling In Coming Decades

      Notrickszone like "no spin zone" by the bullshitmountain man O'Reilly one has to assume.

      Those seven Russian scientist don't deny climate change but guess it could all be about "Cosmic Ray Flux",

      like this "Russian Scientists Dismiss CO2 Forcing, Predict Decades Of Cooling, Connect Cosmic Ray Flux To Climate".

      Should we now tell the Chinese to burn more coal and tell people that if they cannot see their way to work to just get a GPS device, preferably one that works indoors too and remember to cough properly.

      Just keep the air and the water clean and I am totally happy with the climate change and will dress accordingly.

      Then there is of course the question about who is financing this Notrickszone to reveal all those great scientific stories like:

      "Australian Psychologists Now Claim Climate Science Skeptics Are The True Moon-Landing Conspiracy Theorists".

      "Dutch Expert: With Trump In Office, Now Safe To Expose The Many Myths Of Climate Alarmism".

      1. Faux Science Slayer

        Solar Constant....is NOT constant....

        Not only does Total Solar Insulation vary by distance of 3% by elipitcal Eart orbit, but radiation is a

        function of square of distance, so orbit causes 10% TSI. What climaclownology ignores is variable

        particle, solar rays, see "Lukewarm Lemmings and the Lysenko Larceny" at FauxScienceSlayer

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Solar Constant....is NOT constant....

          "Total Solar Insulation"

          I don't think the sun needs insulating. It stays nice and warm as it is.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Solar Constant....is NOT constant....

            Don't confuse Faux with facts, Doc ... Faux has ANECDOTES and TESTIMONIALS on his side!

            1. Alistair Silver badge

              Re: Solar Constant....is NOT constant....

              @ Jake.

              Upped. Because you are so very correct.

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Solar Constant....is NOT constant....

              "Faux has ANECDOTES and TESTIMONIALS on his side!"

              I'd like to know if Faux things the Dunning–Kruger effect is faux science.

        2. David Harper 1

          Re: Solar Constant....is NOT constant....

          Uh-oh. Major maths fail. You don't square the percentage variation. You double it*, hence a 3% change in distance between perihelion and aphelion translated to a 6% change in total solar insolation (NB spelling!).

          * Because (1 + x)^2 = 1 + 2 x + x^2, which for small x is near enough 1 + 2 x

        3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Solar Constant....is NOT constant....

          particle, solar rays, see blah, blah blah, output of fevered imagination with no basis in reality" at FauxScienceSlayer

          Anyone who refers to himself in the 3rd person[1] is very unlikely to be a credible or authoritative source..

          [1] See Donald, Trump.

  4. Len Goddard

    Predictions?

    Where does the data for the rest of 2017 and all of 2018 come from?

    1. Richard Tobin

      Re: Predictions?

      Here's the page it comes from:

      http://www.sws.bom.gov.au/Solar/1/6

  5. jake Silver badge

    Maunder Minimum, here we come :-)

    Ready for serious global cooling, all y'all?

    1. VinceH Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Maunder Minimum, here we come :-)

      You beat me to it - that was exactly what I thought when I read the article.

      Icon because I'm going to put mine on.

  6. AndrueC Silver badge
    Joke

    The sun is going out? That's all we need. Gas and electric are expensive enough as it is!

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "The sun is going out?"

      Dunno. Has he got his hat on?

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      On the bright side... you won't need to buy sun tan lotion anytime soon.

  7. Korev Silver badge
    Coat

    Sun

    But didn't Sun get swallowed by Oracle a few years ago. That'd explain the slowdown between releases.

    1. Esme

      Re: Sun

      I thought it was the giant space-goat that ate it...

  8. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    I have been keeping tabs on sunspots for quite a while, and the last minimum was way deeper than I have ever seen in almost 40 years of observing. The current minimum looks set to get very deep as well. I know several amateur astronomers who wonder if it currently makes sense to invest in (expensive) H-alpha or Ca-K filters at this point in time. I look at it this way: If a new Maunder minimum is imminent, we will be the first to be able to observe that in great detail. If not, we can carry on observing interesting detail.

    BTW, one small sunspot group was visible in my shots from yesterday in white light and Ca-K (393nm). Still very quiet though

  9. WraithCadmus

    What am I going to blame random outages on now?

    'Sunspots' has been my go-to excuse for years.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: What am I going to blame random outages on now?

      I use "stray cosmic ray(s)" ... works for almost everything (~85%) when you have a need to quiet the peanut gallery for an hour or so while you nip off down the pubhave a think ... "We're waiting on the results of the Perk Test" works for another ~15% ,,, you're on your own for the final ~1%; how do you think I make the big bucks?

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: What am I going to blame random outages on now?

      'Sunspots' has been my go-to excuse for years.

      I believe that "static discharges from clothing" is next on the Excuses Calendar. Or you could just jump to "Shifts in magnetic north".

    3. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Re: What am I going to blame random outages on now?

      Adverse tides.

    4. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Re: What am I going to blame random outages on now?

      Sporadic E always worked for me.

  10. Richard Tobin

    A bit late

    A sunspot rotated round on the 22nd.

  11. Steve the Cynic Silver badge
    Joke

    Just a reminder, everyone!

    If someone advocates the use of solar energy...

    ... he is advocating the use of energy from an unshielded nuclear fusion reactor!

    (note icon)

    1. PNGuinn Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Just a reminder, everyone!

      Nooo - I'd NEVER be so irresponsible to recommend that.

      Any fule kno that all solar energy receptors should be shielded with at least 1 foot thick lead cover.

      What really bothers me is what thickness of tinfoil hat do I need to be safe out there?

      Take care on the beach, now.

      >> thanks, mine's the one with the 5l drum of factor 95 sunscreen in the pocketses.

  12. 27escape
    Mushroom

    2018 data

    Is that a projection or do they know the future?

    1. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: 2018 data

      You mean the data with the e for "estimated" next to it? It's an estimate. As is all the data going back to September 2016.

    2. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: 2018 data

      They hopped a trip on the TARDIS.

  13. kryptonaut
    Gimp

    Klytus, I'm bored.

    When the earthquakes and volcanic eruptions start, and hot hail falls from the sky, there's only one person who can save us.

    https://youtu.be/U51Pl0KMI3M?t=45s

  14. Alistair Silver badge
    Pint

    sunspots missing. News at 11.

    The sun has received official notification from the office of the president of the united states that global warming is a liberal left myth. Officials at Sol are in emergency meetings to determine why in the universe some country elected this moron. Sunspots will resume normal process when the officers in charge of managing the venting systems are back at their desks.

    /S

    Kudo's Michael W. et al - I've a couple of barely passable telescopes (for the kids) but haven't time nor the location to get in any really nice telescopy work. I hope to in the future, from a space with less light pollution (yes, I'm more a star field kinda person)

    Much could be said about 'climate change' here. All I'll note is that in the 3+ billion years this ball has been floating around dear old Sol, we've seen some pretty drastic climate changes. They will continue. W(he)(ea)ther or not there are sunspots.

    <please note the sark tag!>

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: sunspots missing. News at 11.

      "W(he)(ea)ther"

      That's a dreadful spell of weather.

  15. dlc.usa
    FAIL

    Not As Usual

    The article is totally oblivious how remarkably minimal the past maximum was. It started late, didn't get very high, and abated earlier than has been typical. Scientists are still trying to understand it. The Wikipedia article at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_maximum is rather helpful.

    1. Spudley

      Re: Not As Usual

      The article is totally oblivious how remarkably minimal the past maximum was. It started late, didn't get very high, and abated earlier than has been typical. Scientists are still trying to understand it.

      I'm sure they find it puzzling, but when you've only got 200 years of data on an 11-year cycle, that's less than only 18 cycles of data. For a star that has been shining for billions of years. They can't possibly know whether the 11-year cycle is really as predictable as they think, or that there aren't larger cycles that they don't know about.

      1. Cuddles Silver badge

        Re: Not As Usual

        "when you've only got 200 years of data on an 11-year cycle, that's less than only 18 cycles of data"

        Except we have proxy measurements of sunspots going back thousands of years, records of direct observations going back to 800BC or so, and proper observations with telescopes from the 1600s onwards. Obviously not quite up to the same level of detail as modern observations, but plenty to get an idea of general trends over far more than just 200 years.

  16. davews

    The article has a lot of things wrong with it. Firstly, as pointed out, a small sunspot appeared on 22nd March to end the spot free period. Secondly, sunspots are not counted individually, rather the leading figure is the number of spot groups and the second the total number of spots - for instance, if you have 4 spots in three groups the sunspot number will be 34. The sunspot number on the date shown in the photo was actually 227, which could be 27 spots in 20 groups or some other similar combination - there certainly are not 110 spots on that day.

    Thirdly, the table shows smoothed sunspot numbers for each month based on a 13 month cycle - so the figure of 110 given for February 2014 is calculated based on the actual figures between February 2013 and February 2014. This is why figures after mid 2016 are shown as estimates and those in 2018 estimates based on the estimates.

    There is nothing unusual in having a spotless sun at this point of the solar cycle, it has happened many times over the 24 11 year cycles since we started recording them - but this solar minimum, like its maximum, looks set to be much lower than average.

  17. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Happy

    Apparently..

    ..the last hardware driver patch took then.

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