The Sun is blank again

More signs that we are easing down to solar minimum: After a period of two weeks of sunspots, the Sun has once again gone blank.

It takes the Sun’s about four weeks to rotate and complete one “day”. What has essentially happened is that right now one face of the Sun is blank while the other face has sunspots. For two weeks, from the last week in June to the first week in July, the blank face was turned towards the Earth. Then the face with sunspots rotated into view for two weeks, and now the blank face has rotated back to face us.

Though new sunspots can always form on either face, I expect this blank stretch to last a few days, at least.

The first blank Sun since 2011

No sunspots on July 17, 2014

For the first time since August 14, 2011, the Sun showed no sunspots on its surface today. It started the day, July 17, 2014, with one small sunspot, but that spot apparently decayed away by the end of the day, as indicated by the fact that the sunspot number for the day was listed as zero, the first time that has happened since the solar maximum ramp up began in 2011.

This is strong evidence that the ramp down to solar minimum is beginning.