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Blank sun heralds solar minimum

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Blank sun heralds solar minimum

The sun has gone blank twice in June, with no sun spot activity recorded at all.

According to Meteorologist Paul Dorian, the sun went spotless for the first time since 2011 from 4 June, for four days.

Although sunspot regions then reappeared for the next few weeks on a sporadic basis, but are once again missing from the surface of the sun, he writes on his blog.

Dorian says a blank sun could indicate that the next solar minimum is approaching and that there will be an increasing number of spotless days over the next few years, starting with a few days but building up to spotless weeks and finally months.

He expects this next solar minimum phase to take place around 2019 or 2020.

Intense solar minimums in the past have been associated with cold winters and even a mini Ice Age.

Dorian explains that the current solar cycle is the 24th since 1755 when we started recording solar sunspot activity began. The current activity, he adds, is the weakest in more than a century with the fewest sunspots since cycle 14 peaked in February 1906.

It is believed the that solar maximum of the current cycle was reached in April 2014 when there was a spike in activity.

Pictured: The latest solar image is completely spotless for the second time this month.

Image courtesy NASA