This week, solar activity has sharply declined. There is only one numbered sunspot on the Earth-facing side of the sun, and it is so small you might have trouble finding it. Click to enlarge this July 17th image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Obervatory and see if you can locate AR2113:

In case you couldn't find the sunspot's tiny decaying core, here it is.

Long-time readers absorbing this image might be reminded of 2008-2009, years of spotlessness when the sun plunged into the deepest solar minimum in a century. The resemblance, however, is only superficial. Deep inside the sun, the solar dynamo is still churning out knots of magnetism that should soon bob to the surface to make new sunspots. Solar Max is not finished, it's just miniature.

Until the sunspots return, solar flares are unlikely. NOAA forecasters estimate the odds of an M-flare today to be no more than 1%. Updates on Twitter @spaceweatherman.