Sun had no visible sunspots for February; what does this mean?

Mar 6, 2019, 2:00 PM | Updated: Mar 7, 2019, 7:35 am

As you were going on with your daily activities, the sun was pouring out energy by a very complex process known as fusion.

The sun converts hydrogen into helium in massive quantities and creates helium nuclei from protons and converts mass into energy!

This energy has been constant from the sun for well over 4 billion years, and the sun is predicted to continue with the fusion process for another 4 billion.

Can you just imagine the monthly fuel bill that you would be expected to pay if you were responsible for the fusion event from the sun?

We here on Earth can simply harness the end product of sunlight and use this to lower our energy bills with solar power technology!

But has the output of the Sun been that constant over the millennium?

We are told that the sun goes into a cyclical 11-year sunspot cycle, which has certain effects on our planet. Some of these changes are high levels of solar storms during the sunspot maximum years and a near quiet during solar minimum.

During the month of February, the sun had no visible sunspots for the entire month!

This could signal the early arrival of the next sunspot minimum, which is scheduled for 2020.

If you examine the history of sunspot activity over the last 500 years, you will notice that there was a distinct drop in both sunspot activity and solar activity.

This was during a period known by scientists as the Maunder Minimum. This glitch in sunspot and general solar activity took place between 1645 and 1715.

This 70-year period produced some amazing low temperatures on the Earth, lowering the global temperatures and occurring during the middle portion of the Little Ice Age.

The back story here is that all weather is derived from the sun and that we are now heading into a potentially deep sunspot minimum, which may once again show significant lowering of global temperatures.

That is the direct opposite of many who believe that climate change is raising global temperatures.

You should look at various reliable sources on both sides and make up your own mind!

Sunspots are cooler regions on the solar surface that have magnetic lines of force swirling deep into the solar surface.

Even as they appear darker, they are actually quite hot, with the surface of the Sun near 12,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Sunspots, on the other hand, are within 8,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

As of the writing of this column, the sun has not seen sunspots for 33 days in a row, only to have sunspot AR2734 appear in the northern hemisphere on Wednesday.

It is a tiny one and goes to show you that we need to do a lot more research on the Sun, to understand its complex cycles.

Stay tuned!

To print your own monthly star chart, click here.

To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.

Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday morning at 3 a.m.

Dr. Sky Blog

(Unsplash Photo)...
Steve Kates

Mark your stargazing calendar for these upcoming October treats

As the year moves on, the skies of October will be some of the best that Arizona can offer!
4 days ago
The Strawberry Supermoon sets in front of the NASA Artemis rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard ...
Steve Kates

‘Cancer moonshot’ brings back memories of JFK space-race speech 60 years ago this week

President John F. Kennedy gave a speech 60 years ago to set a goal of sending men to the moon. Now, NASA is returning to the moon.
11 days ago
(Public Domain Pictures Photo)...
Steve Kates

Here’s how you can get a great view of the harvest moon Sept. 9

One of the most memorable of the full moons of 2022 is the upcoming harvest moon! Look for the rising harvest moon on the evening of Sept. 9.
18 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Steve Kates

September skies feature harvest moon, 4 of the planets for viewing

With fall just around the corner and the traditional end of the summer monsoon season, we will soon return to those great Arizona skies.
25 days ago
Liftoff of NASA's Space Launch System rocket and integrated Orion spacecraft is targeted for 8:33 a...
Steve Kates

Upcoming launch of Artemis I moon rocket kicks off another moon quest

The next great leap to space will occur soon with the launch of the Artemis I moon rocket.
1 month ago
(NASA Photo)...
Steve Kates

Grab binoculars or telescope – Jupiter and Mars are coming into full view

Jupiter and Mars are coming closer to Earth, which is going to give skywatchers a really good look at them through binoculars or a telescope.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
Sun had no visible sunspots for February; what does this mean?