PHOTOS: 5 Ways the Solar Wind Will Blow You Away
Just one sunspot interrupts the sun's blank stare.
"One possible explanation is that Solar Max is double-peaked and we are in the valley between peaks," said NASA's Tony Phillips on Spaceweather.com. "If so, solar activity could surge again in late 2013-2014. No one can say for sure, though."
Although the sun has some predictable behavior - such as its approximate 11-year cycle - solar physicists continue to have difficulty in predicting the ferocity of the next cycle. Long term trends, such as the apparent weakening of the sun's magnetic field, only hint at what is going on inside the mysterious solar interior.
ANALYSIS: The Sun Is About To (Magnetically) Flip!
But just because there's a single island of activity currently on the solar surface, don't let the sun fool you into thinking we're in for an extended period of calm. The internal solar dynamo could kick up a notch and blast us with flares and CMEs in the coming weeks or months.
One thing is for certain, however, our nearest star still hides many secrets. This could just be the calm before the real solar storm.