The sun appears to be taking a nap of sorts, and scientists are wondering where all the sunspots go?
Sun goes 'quiet' after recent activity
This undated photo shows sun spots on the the upper portion of the sun. Scientists have found direct evidence for the theory that sunspots are caused by curved magnetic fields that stick out from the sun like croquet wickets. It's the best support yet for that theory, which attempts to explain one of the most difficult questions about the sun, one expert said. In the journal Nature on Thursday Jan. 18, 1995, researcher Thomas Duvall and colleagues reported that they have detected gas diving under sunspots. Duvall is an astrophysicist for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. (AP Photo)
This image provided by NASA shows the latest image of the Sun taken July 24, 2007. NASA scientists are keeping a close eye on the sun. It is almost spotless, a sign that the Sun may have reached solar minimum. Scientists are now watching for the first spot of the new solar cycle to appear. The 11 year long solar cycle is marked by two extremes, solar minimum and solar maximum. Solar minimum is the period of least solar activity in the solar cycle of the sun. During this time sunspot and solar flare activity diminishes, and often does not occur for days at a time. (AP Photo/NASA)
This image provided by NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) shows a new sunspot, upper right, which after many weeks of a blank sun with no sunspots and very few sunspots this entire year, emerged Sept. 23, 2008. This new spot has both the magnetic orientation and the high-latitude position of a sunspot belonging to the new solar cycle, Cycle 24. (AP Photo/NASA/ESA)
NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft, orbiting one million miles from Earth, captures this striking view of a comet, streak at lower right, as it plunged into the Sun on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2001. Comets that head toward the Sun are short-lived. Composed of ice and dust, the comet is rapidly heated by the Sun and can only survive the pass-by if it's quite large. The spacecraft watches the Sun with an artificial eclipse to study the Sun's corona, or atmosphere. In its six years,SOHO has spotted over 365 comets, making it the most prolific comet finder in the history of astronomy.(AP Photo/NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center)
IN SPACE - FEBRUARY 15: In a screen grab taken from a handout timelapse sequence provided by NASA / SDO, a solar spot in the centre of the Sun is captured from which the first X-class flare was emitted in four years on February 14, 2011. The images taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft reveal the source of the strongest flare to have been released in four years by the Sun, leading to warnings that a resulting geo-magnetic storm may cause disruption to communications and electrical supplies once it reaches the earths magnetic field. (Image by NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory via Getty Images)
BACK TO SLIDE
Space weather calls it the "All Quiet Event," and according to the site's doctor, Tony Phillips, on July 17th, there were no sunspots at all. On the 18th, this photo shows only three tiny sunspots.
This sunspot die-off comes after a quote, "Whole Slew" of sunspots from July 1st through the 10th, according to NASA.
So, should we be worried? "It is weird, but it's not super weird," Phillips writes. "To have a spotless day during solar maximum is odd, but then again, this solar maximum we are in has been very wimpy."
The solar maximum is a period of greatest solar activity in the 11-year solar cycle.
Sunspots are regions of intense magnetic activity. No one knows how long this quiet period will last.
Phillips says, "You just can't predict the sun."