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"All Quiet Alert" Issued For the Sun 463

radioweather writes "The phrase sounds like an oxymoron, and maybe it is, but the sun is extremely quiet right now, so much in fact that the Solar Influences Data Center in Belgium issued an unusual 'All quiet alert' on October 5th. Since then the sunspot number has remained at zero — solar cycle 24 has not yet started. There are signs that the sun's activity is slowing. The solar wind has been decreasing in speed, and this is yet another indicator of a slowing in the sun's magnetic dynamo. There is talk of an extended solar minimum occurring. There are a number of theories and a couple of dozen predictions about the intensity solar cycle 24 which has yet to start. One paper by Penn & Livingstonin in 2006 concludes: 'If [trends] continue to decrease at the current rate then the number of sunspots in the next solar cycle (cycle 24) would be reduced by roughly half, and there would be very few sunspots visible on the disk during cycle 25.' We'll know more in about six months what the sun decides to do for cycle 24."

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