• Solar activity on the Sun has lessened 
  • The Sun might enter a period known as solar minimum
  • The last Grand Minimum triggered a mini ice age

Scientists believe that the Sun’s unusual lack of activity indicates that it might enter a period known as solar minimum. Some of them even claimed that it could trigger a Grand Minimum, which is associated with a mini ice age.

The Sun’s activities increase and decrease on an 11-year cycle, which is triggered by the strengthening and weakening of the massive star’s magnetic field. During a solar maximum, which is the peak of the Sun’s activities, a high number of sunspots can be detected on its surface.

Since last year, scientists have detected fewer activities on the Sun. According to the data collected by, sunspots have not appeared on the Sun’s surface for 107 days this year. In 2019, the sunspots were absent for a total of 281 days.

The trend of decreasing solar activity has been observed since 2016 with a sudden spike in 2018. According to experts, if the Sun’s lack of activity continues, it could enter a new solar minimum.

“The Sun has been 'spotless' for a large fraction of the last year, which is indeed quieter than is typical,” Mathew Owens of the University of Reading in the U.K. told Newsweek. “It's still a little early to say where it fits relative to other minima we've seen. If it does continue in this fashion, it may well rank up there with the longer minima on record.”

Other scientists believe that the Sun’s lack of solar activity could trigger a deep solar minimum period known as the Grand Minimum, which is also referred to as the Maunder Minimum.

The last time a Grand Minimum happened was from 1650 to 1715. During this period, the Sun’s activity was so low that it caused a global cooling effect by one degrees Celsius. Due to the global temperatures at that time, the period became known as the Little Ice Age.

“The sun has been declining in overall activity recently, the number of days with zero sunspots is well above average, and some solar physicists have predicted that the sun is heading for another Grand Minimum,” Joanna High, a retired professor from the Imperial College London’s Department of Physics stated.

Solar flare
Study suggests sun's activity was far more intense before planets formed. Pictured, an image showing the bright light of a solar flare on the left side of the sun and an eruption of solar material shooting through the its atmosphere, called a prominence eruption. NASA/SDO