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As the sun gets successively more blank with each day, due to lack of sunspots, it is also dimming. According to data from NASA’s Spaceweather, so far in 2017, 96 days (27%) of the days observing the sun have been without sunspots. Here is the view today from the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite:

Today at Cape Canaveral, SpaceX launched a new sensor to the International Space Station named TSIS-1. Its mission: to measure the dimming of the sun’s irradiance. It will replace the aging SORCE spacecraft. NASA SDO reports that as the sunspot cycle plunges toward its 11-year minimum, NASA satellites are tracking a decline in total solar irradiance (TSI).

Across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, the sun’s output has dropped nearly 0.1% compared to the Solar Maximum of 2012-2014. This plot shows the TSI since 1978 as observed from nine previous satellites:

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Category: Science