Here is some chilling news about the vital lifeline for the earth---the sun. Our central star has a face that has "gone blank" and is moving towards a mini Ice Age. There is no action on the solar surface.
Worryingly, this is the second time that the sun has blanked out, commented a meteorologist at Vencore Weather, Paul Dorian. These are ominous signs of the next solar minimum or a rising number of spotless days in the next few years.
While the sun's face is usually pocked with sunspots, it is currently fully smooth, which might usher in a prolonged, cold period.
This is a phase that can bring in a severe cold period on the earth---the Maunder Minimum, which began in 1645 and continued till 1715, and was called the Little Ice Age.
This year's blank face marks the 24th solar cycle since 1755 when there was an extensive recording of solar sunspot activity. However, this is the weakest one in 100 years. Just a few sunspots since the 14th cycle peaked in the last century---February 1906.
Hence, the sun's blank face means a lack of activity on its surface.
"At first, the blankness will stretch for just a few days at a time, then it'll continue for weeks at a time, and finally it should last for months at a time when the sunspot cycle reaches its nadir," Dorian said in a Vencore Weather statement. "The blank sun is a sign that the next solar minimum is approaching and there will be an increasing number of spotless days over the next few years.
Professor Valentina Zharkov made some calculations based on reliable data and concurred that in the 2030s, the earth would face a mini Ice Age, even as the sun's activity drops by 60 percent. It would take the earth to crop failures and other disasters.
"I am absolutely confident in our research. It has a good mathematical background and reliable data, which has been handled correctly.
"In fact, our results can be repeated by any researchers with the similar data available in many solar observatories, so they can derive their own evidence of upcoming Maunder Minimum in solar magnetic field and activity."