The Sun is our closest star that is located in the center of the Solar System and maintains orbiting planets with its constant force, providing Earth with just the right amount of light and heat to make life possible. But scientists say it is cooling down during what is called a solar minimum.

Although it seems to us that its behavior is stable, with its heat and sunsets every day, the Sun is very dynamic. The 150 million kilometers that separate it from Earth, allow us to hardly notice the multiple changes of the largest source of electromagnetic radiation in this planetary system.

As with Earth, the Sun also goes through phases and changes that can be anticipated for several years. Currently, it is going through a less active phase, called the solar minimum.

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And this almost perfect sphere of plasma, composed about three-quarters of a mass of hydrogen, a little helium, and much smaller amounts of elements, such as oxygen, carbon, neon and iron, experiences regular intervals of 11 years, which include energetic spikes in activity, followed by low points.

During the peak, the Sun shows more sunspots and solar flares. At a solar minimum, it is much quieter, which means fewer sunspots and emitted energy.

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As published by NASA, we are currently going through a "Grand Solar Minimum". And the last time our star had a minimum as the current one, it was between 1650 and 1715, during what is known as the Little Ice Age or Maunder Minimum in the Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, “when combination of cooling from volcanic aerosols and low solar activity produced lower surface temperatures, ”according to NASA's Global Climate Change.

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Scientists assure that this solar minimum will not cause another ice age as it did four centuries ago due to the climate change we are going through.

"The warming caused by the greenhouse gas emissions from the human burning of fossil fuels is six times greater than the possible decades-long cooling from a prolonged Grand Solar Minimum," they said.

And they added: “Even if a Grand Solar Minimum were to last a century, global temperatures would continue to warm. Because more factors than just variations in the Sun's output change global temperatures on Earth, the most dominant of those today being the warming coming from human-induced greenhouse gas emissions."

In advance, scientists have known that this solar minimum is approaching because it is a regular aspect of the sun's cycle. Sunspots peaked in 2014, and have been declining to this day. The slow recovery towards a new solar maximum will take place between the years 2023-2026.

An international panel of experts who met virtually at NOAA's Annual Space Weather Workshop, the US climate agency confirmed its solar cycle forecasts forecasting the next solar cycle.

"We expect Solar Cycle 25 will be very similar to Cycle 24: another fairly weak cycle, preceded by a long, deep minimum," noted panel co-chair Lisa Upton, a solar physicist at Space Systems Research Corp.

As the researchers described, the solar cycle is like a pendulum, oscillating back and forth between periods of high and low sunspots every 11 years or so. This cycle was discovered in the 19th century, through astronomical observations.

Although they have regular cycles every 11 years, they are not the same. Some are more intense, with lots of sunspots and sunbursts. Others are weak, such as the most recent Solar Cycle 24, which peaked in 2012-2014 with relatively little action.

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Researchers are still learning to predict the ebb and flow of solar activity. Forecasting techniques range from physical models of the sun's internal magnetic dynamo to statistical methods similar to those used by market value analysts. 70-year-long Maunder Minimums could cool the Earth, saving us from climate change.

However, that's not what the panel says. "There is no indication that we are currently approaching a Maunder-type minimum in solar activity," Upton said. The solar minimum will be long, but not so deep.

This solar minimum ends the 24th solar cycle. The first predictions estimated that the peak of solar cycle 25 will occur in July 2025, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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