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Nasa: Sun has ‘reached solar minimum’ and its surface is ominously calm

Jasper Hamill Tuesday 4 Jun 2019 2:34 pm The surface of the sun is normally a roiling, super-heated hellscape. But Nasa images have revealed that the face of our star is looking ominously calm right now, prompting claims it’s reached a stage of its cycle called the solar minimum. During the minimum, there are significantly fewer sunspots and its magnetic field weakens, allowing cosmic rays from outside our solar system to rain down on Earth. This doesn’t tend to pose a threat to anyone here on Earth, but it’s risky for astronauts and satellites outside our atmosphere. ADVERTISEMENT The website Space Weather wrote: ‘The sun has been without spots for 16 consecutive days–a sign that Solar Minimum is underway. ‘Many people think Solar Minimum is uninteresting. Not so. ‘This phase of the solar cycle brings extra cosmic rays and long-lasting holes in the sun’s atmosphere.’ Huge solar eruptions could pose a serious threat to human civilisation (Image: Nasa) This solar slowdown often causes temporary cooling in Earth’s atmosphere Climate change deniers often hail this cooling as evidence that the heating of our world is about to go into reverse. Sadly, this is very unlikely to be true because the sun follows an 11-year cycle, meaning it will simply spring back to life in the coming years. However, once activity ramps up, the sun will be rocked by an increased number of gigantic ‘monster’ explosions, Nasa warned last week. Eruptions from the face of our star are called ‘prominences’ and cause vast amounts of superhot gas to shoot into space, often forming beautiful loops on the solar surface. During the solar minimum, the number of flares and sunspots is dramatically reduced. When the sun leaps back from its minimum after roughly 11 years, we’re likely to see more and more ferocious explosions on the sun.

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