For the first time in almost a century, the Sun has a spotless record. There were no observed sunspots in August. None. Zero. Zip. Can't get a record any lower than that. That's the first time this has happened since 1913.
That's before commercial radio. Before talking movies. Before World War I. Why, it's almost as long as since the last time the Cubs won the World Series.
Now, that's a long time!
Plus, as we've discussed before, the Sun has been unusually quiet of late. Sunspots generally go through an 11-year cycle, and we're a couple years late for the next rise in activity.
But, you are no doubt wondering, what does this mean to me, the Average Joe? (Assuming your name is indeed "Average Joe," which would be pretty remarkable and, ironically, not average.) Well, sunspots seem to be tied to weather. Three times, since astronomers began observing suspots, has the Sun fallen silent, and each time coincides with significant drops in global temperatures. One such dip, from roughly 1600 to 1750, was so severe it is known as "The Little Ice Age."
Are we heading into another glacial period? Much too soon to tell. But if you start feeling chilly, keep your eye on the Sun. Astronomers will be doing the same.
(NOTE FOR THE METAPHORCALLY-IMPAIRED: That was meant figuratively. Do not look directly at the Sun with your naked eye. You'll burn out your retina.)