From NatGeo, via eHam.net: Sun Headed Into Hibernation, Solar Studies Predict:
Hibernation, Solar Studies Predict Sunspots may disappear altogether in next cycle... Enjoy our stormy sun while it lasts. When our star drops out of its latest sunspot activity cycle, the sun is most likely going into hibernation, scientists announced today. Three independent studies of the sun's insides, surface, and upper atmosphere all predict that the next solar cycle will be significantly delayed:if it happens at all. Normally, the next cycle would be expected to start roughly around 2020. The combined data indicate that we may soon be headed into what's known as a grand minimum, a period of unusually low solar activity. The predicted solar 'sleep' is being compared to the last grand minimum on record, which occurred between 1645 and 1715. Known as the Maunder Minimum, the roughly 70-year period coincided with the coldest spell of the Little Ice Age, when European canals regularly froze solid and Alpine glaciers encroached on mountain villages.Full story.