Note, even though this one is dated April 1, 2009, it isn't an April
Fool joke - unless NASA is forging data. Anyone have data to contradict
April 1, 2009: The sunspot cycle is behaving a little like the stock
market. Just when you think it has hit bottom, it goes even lower.
2008 was a bear. There were no sunspots observed on 266 of the year's
366 days (73%). To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go all
the way back to 1913, which had 311 spotless days.. See:
Prompted by these numbers, some observers suggested that the solar cycle
had hit bottom in 2008.
Maybe not. Sunspot counts for 2009 have dropped even lower. As of March
31st, there were no sunspots on 78 of the year's 90 days (87%).
It adds up to one inescapable conclusion: "We're experiencing a very
deep solar minimum," says solar physicist Dean Pesnell of the Goddard
Space Flight Center.
"This is the quietest sun we've seen in almost a century," agrees
sunspot expert David Hathaway of the Marshall Space Flight Center.