BBC:

The Sun is the dimmest it has been for nearly a century.

There are no sunspots, very few solar flares – and our nearest star is the quietest it has been for a very long time.

The observations are baffling astronomers, who are due to study new pictures of the Sun, taken from space, at the UK National Astronomy Meeting.

The Sun normally undergoes an 11-year cycle of activity. At its peak, it has a tumultuous boiling atmosphere that spits out flares and planet-sized chunks of super-hot gas. This is followed by a calmer period.

Last year, it was expected that it would have been hotting up after a quiet spell. But instead it hit a 50-year low in solar wind pressure, a 55-year low in radio emissions, and a 100-year low in sunspot activity.

So, what, is the science settled? Oops.

“There’s no sign of us coming out of it yet,” she told BBC News.

“At the moment, there are scientific papers coming out suggesting that we’ll be going into a normal period of activity soon.

“Others are suggesting we’ll be going into another minimum period – this is a big scientific debate at the moment.”

No papers, nothing to guide our lawmakers?

In the mid-17th Century, a quiet spell – known as the Maunder Minimum – lasted 70 years, and led to a “mini ice age”.

This has resulted in some people suggesting that a similar cooling might offset the impact of climate change.

Consider that sentence carefully.

Solar activity inextricably affects our climate, and in fact, global temps have not increased since 1998, contrary to the global warming predictions. Thus GW has been renamed “climate change” an idiotic term on its face.

According to Prof Mike Lockwood of Southampton University, this view is too simplistic.

“I wish the Sun was coming to our aid but, unfortunately, the data shows that is not the case,” he said.

Grammar police here: subjunctive voice requires it be “..Sun were coming…”

Prof Lockwood was one of the first researchers to show that the Sun’s activity has been gradually decreasing since 1985, yet overall global temperatures have continued to rise.

No, they have not.

Meanwhile, Wired’s scientists predict a solar surge in 2012.