MINI ICE AGE FEARS: No solar activity for TWO WEEKS sparks concern

Friday, March 24, 2017
By Paul Martin

TWO weeks of little solar activity on the face of the Sun has led experts to believe that we may be on the brink of a prolonged cold period.

Fri, Mar 24, 2017

According to Nasa, there have been no sunspots on the surface of our star in two weeks, leading to predictions the solar minimum has begun early.

The sun follows cycles of roughly 11 years where it reaches a solar maximum and then a solar minimum.

During the former, the Sun gives off more heat, and less in the latter.

By observing the sun through Nasa’s powerful Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft, experts have noticed there has been very little activity.

The space agency said in a statement: “This is the longest stretch of spotlessness since the last solar minimum in April 2010, indicating the solar cycle is marching on toward the next minimum.”

Scientists had not anticipated the next solar minimum until around 2020. If it has begun early, it could lead to a cold snap on Earth.

The last time that there was a prolonged solar minimum, it led to a ‘mini ice-age’, scientifically known as the Maunder minimum.

The Maunder minimum began in 1645 and lasted through to 1715, where sunspots were exceedingly rare.

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