SUMMARY: On October 11, solar astronomers saw something they haven't seen on the Sun in six years... nothing. Not a single sunspot. Within a couple of days, of course, a sunspot popped up, and they're on the Sun right now. This is a clear indication to astronomers that the Sun is on its way to the low point of its 11-year cycle of activity, called the "solar minimum". During the solar minimum, the Sun can be without spots for days or even weeks, and solar flares subside. Astronauts will breath a sigh of relief; it's a safer time to be out in space.
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