SUNSPOTS VANISHING FASTER THAN EXPECTED: Sunspots are becoming scarce. Very scarce. So far in 2018 the sun has been blank almost 60% of the time, with whole weeks going by without sunspots. Today's sun, shown here in an image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, is typical of the featureless solar disk:
The fact that sunspots are vanishing comes as no surprise. Forecasters have been saying for years that this would happen as the current solar cycle ("solar cycle 24") comes to an end. The surprise is how fast.