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Astronomy and Astrophysics
Suddenly, the sun is eerily quiet: Where did the sunspots go?
Suddenly, the sun is eerily quiet: Where did the sunspots go?

Our sun has gone quiet. Almost too quiet. A few weeks ago it was teeming with sunspots, as you would expect since we are supposed to be in the middle of solar maximum -- the time in the sun's 11-year cycle when it is the most active. But now, there is hardly a sunspot in sight. If you look closely at the image above, taken on July 18 by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, you will see a tiny smidge of brown just right of center where a small sunspot appears to be developing. But just one day before, there truly was nothing. It was a totally spotless day. So what's going on here? Is the "All Quiet Event" as solar physicist Tony Phillips dubbed it, a big deal or...

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