No Sunspots On the Surface Of The Sun For 15 Days
NASA observed that the Sun was spotless or no sunspots between March 6 and March 21 and just ended last Wednesday. It was seen empty of sunspots, which could be difficult to know if the Sun was rotating.
— NASA (@NASA) March 21, 2017
The space agency stated that the 15-day spotless phenomenon was the longest in many years. It further stated that without the sunspots, it would have a hard time telling that the Sun was even rotating. This is because these are the points of reference for those viewers.
Sunspots are the darker and cooler areas on the surface of the Sun that are in the photosphere, which has a temperature of 5,800 degrees Kelvin. Meanwhile, the sunspots are about 3,800 degrees K.
These spots could reach up to 50,000 kilometers in diameter and triggered by the interactions with the magnetic field of the Sun. These occur in areas of extreme magnetic activity. Once they discharged energy, there will be coronal mass ejections such as solar flares and big storms that might erupt from sunspots, according to Space.com.
Paul Dorian, a meteorologist, said that there have already been 26 spotless days in 2017 and 32 spotless days last year that happened in the latter part of the year. He further said that the blank look to the Sun will heighten in rate for the next years that could lead to the next solar minimum, which might be reached in late 2019 or 2020, as noted by The Washington Post.
The number of sunspots on the surface of the Sun has been used as an index for solar activity. Many sunspots mean having the solar maximum.
If in a case of having the solar minimum, the Sun is not active and has low sunspot. Having a low sunspot signifies that the Sun is at its low point in its cycle. On the other hand, this does not stop the Sun's activity with the presence of other solar activity like the coronal holes that discharge solar material in space and intensify the auroras at Earth's poles, according to NASA.