Sun Headed Into Hibernation, Solar Studies Predicts

My Wag

I am a little outdated on this but it grabbed my attention. The Maunder Minimum occurred during the reign of Henry VIII, who just happens to be part of one of the most fascinating times of England and religion. Not to mention marriage and divorce.

Sun Headed Into Hibernation, Solar Studies Predicts.

What a quiet sun looks like: Very few active regions are visible in this 2009 satellite picture.Image courtesy STEREO/NASA

What a quiet sun looks like: Very few active regions are visible in this 2009 satellite picture.
Image courtesy STEREO/NASA

Victoria Jaggard

National Geographic News

Published June 14, 2011

Enjoy our stormy sun while it lasts. When our star drops out of its latest sunspot activity cycle, the sun is most likely going into hibernation, scientists announced today.

Three independent studies of the sun’s insides, surface, and upper atmosphere all predict that the next solar cycle will be significantly delayed—if it happens at all. Normally, the next cycle would be expected to start roughly around 2020.

The combined data indicate that we may soon be headed into what’s known as a grand minimum, a period of unusually low solar activity.

The predicted solar “sleep” is being compared to the last grand minimum on record, which occurred between 1645 and 1715.

Known as the Maunder Minimum, the roughly 70-year period coincided with the coldest spell of the Little Ice Age, when European canals regularly froze solid and Alpine glaciers encroached on mountain villages.

(See “Sun Oddly Quiet—Hints at Next ‘Little Ice Age?'”)

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