For the past few months, human activity is rather slow and this is due to the coronavirus pandemic. Governments around the world have put lockdowns and people are indoors to control the virus. It might be so that it is not only the humans that are under lockdown, reports state that the Sun is lacking some sunspots and is blank for a while now, which means that even our Sun might be under lockdown.

Scientists say that this can cause freezing weather, earthquakes and famine. The sun is currently in a period of "solar minimum" and this means that there has been a dramatic fall in the activity on its surface. Experts believe we are about to enter the deepest period of sunshine "recession" ever recorded as sunspots have virtually disappeared.

The sun [representational image]

People who are wondering that what exactly sunspots are, well, sunspot number is used to count the number of sunspots present on the surface of the sun at any given time. This is the index that has been in use by humans for very long. It has however now been replaced with modern indices such as the 10.7-centimetre solar flux.

According to astronomer Dr Tony Phillips, in the past century, the present sunspot count is one of the deepest. A report stated that the sun's magnetic field has become weak, allowing extra cosmic rays into the solar system.

About 76 per cent of the times, the sun has been "blank" with no sunspots this year. A rate higher than this was recorded only once before and it was in 2019 when the percentage was 77.

Dr Phillips was quoted as saying that, "Excess cosmic rays pose a health hazard to astronauts and polar air travelers, affect the electro-chemistry of Earth's upper atmosphere and may help trigger lightning."

If scientists in NASA are to be believed, this phase might lead to brutal cold, famine, powerful volcanic eruptions and crop loss as it could be a repeat of the Dalton Minimum, which happened between 1790 and 1830. Back then, the world's food production was badly hit as temperatures plummeted by up to 2C over 20 years.