The Maunder Minimum (also known as the prolonged sunspot minimum) is the name used for the period starting in about 1645 and continuing to about 1715 when sunspots became exceedingly rare, as noted by solar observers of the time. The term was introduced after John A. Eddy published a landmark 1976 paper in Sciencetitled "The Maunder Minimum". Astronomers before Eddy had also named the period after the solar astronomer Edward W. Maunder (1851–1928) who studied how sunspot latitudes changed with time. The periods he examined included the second half of the 17th century. Edward Maunder published two papers in 1890 and 1894, and he cited earlier papers written by Gustav Spörer. During one 30-year period within the Maunder Minimum, Spörer observed fewer than 50 sunspots, as opposed to a more typical 40,000–50,000 spots in modern times. Like the Dalton Minimum and Spörer Minimum, the Maunder Minimum coincided with a period of lower-than-average European temperatures.
This is an excerpt from the article Prolonged sunspot minimum from the Wikipedia free encyclopedia. A list of authors is available at Wikipedia.
Published on Jan 19, 2014
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Scientists are saying that the Sun is in a phase of solar lull - meaning that it has fallen asleep - and it is baffling them. So whats going on? Rebecca Morelle reports for BBC Newsnight.
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