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News Picks : Sunspots disappear despite solar max

By: Physics Today
21 July 2014

Los Angeles Times: Astronomers have noted a curious absence of sunspots despite the fact that the Sun is at solar maximum—the period when the Sun’s magnetic fields are at their most intense. Areas where the magnetic fields are most concentrated are somewhat cooler than the surrounding surface and so appear to viewers on Earth as dark spots. As energy builds up in those areas, its release can cause solar flares and coronal mass ejections. But scientists say that temporary quiet interludes are not unusual even during periods of high solar activity. "You just can't predict the Sun," says solar physicist Tony Phillips.


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