Solar activity space

Old Sol these days is showing a strikingly bland face, one nearly unmarred by the usual wild magnetic storms, whipsawing coronal loops, and fiery plasma ejections.

“The sun is in the pits of the deepest solar minimum in almost 100 years,” said Madhulika Guhathakurta, lead program scientist for NASA’s Living With A Star program, whose focus is solar variability and its effects on the earth.

From the earth’s perspective, scientists say, the periodic lull in the sun’s activity means cosmic rays reaching our section of the solar system are way up, the planet’s ionosphere is way down, and the minimum may be producing some small but still important counteraction to climate change – though that is controversial.

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