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The sun has 'reached solar minimum' and its surface is ominously calm

• https://metro.co, Jasper Hamill

During the minimum, there are significantly fewer sunspots and its magnetic field weakens, allowing cosmic rays from outside our solar system to rain down on Earth. This doesn't tend to pose a threat to anyone here on Earth, but it's risky for astronauts and satellites outside our atmosphere. The website Space Weather wrote: 'The sun has been without spots for 16 consecutive days–a sign that Solar Minimum is underway. 'Many people think Solar Minimum is uninteresting. Not so. 'This phase of the solar cycle brings extra cosmic rays and long-lasting holes in the sun's atmosphere.'

This solar slowdown often causes temporary cooling in Earth's atmosphere Climate change deniers often hail this cooling as evidence that the heating of our world is about to go into reverse. Sadly, this is very unlikely to be true because the sun follows an 11-year cycle, meaning it will simply spring back to life in the coming years. However, once activity ramps up, the sun will be rocked by an increased number of gigantic 'monster' explosions, Nasa warned last week.

Eruptions from the face of our star are called 'prominences' and cause vast amounts of superhot gas to shoot into space, often forming beautiful loops on the solar surface. During the solar minimum, the number of flares and sunspots is dramatically reduced.

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