The surface of the sun has been surprisingly calm of late -- with fewer sunspots than anytime in in the last century -- prompting curious scientists to wonder just what it might mean here on Earth.
Sunspots have been observed for millennia -- first by Chinese astronomers and then, for the first time with a telescope, by Galileo in 1610.
The sunspots appear in roughly 11-year cycles -- increasing to a daily flurry and then subsiding drastically, before amping up again.
But this cycle -- dubbed cycle 24 -- has surprised scientists with its sluggishness.
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