Spotless Sun: Blankest Year of the Space Age

Science@NASA is reporting that 2008 is the “blankest year” of the Space Age, when it comes to sunspots. To date, the sun has had no visible sunspots for 200 days this year. To find a year that had more days with no sunspots, you have to go all the way back to 1954, which had 241 days with no recorded sunspots.

Although we ham radio operators aren’t excited by this turn of events,

Some solar physicists are welcoming the lull.

“This gives us a chance to study the sun without the complications of sunspots,” says Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center. “Right now we have the best instrumentation in history looking at the sun. There is a whole fleet of spacecraft devoted to solar physics–SOHO, Hinode, ACE, STEREO and others. We’re bound to learn new things during this long solar minimum.”

Oh, well. At least some good is coming from it.

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