Sun has a cycle that lasts on average 11 years, and right now we are at the peak of that cycle.
Every 11 years or so, sunspots fade away, bringing a period of relative calm. This is called the solar minimum. And it’s a regular part of the sunspot cycle.
While intense activity such as sunspots and solar flares subside during solar minimum, that doesn’t mean the sun becomes dull.
Solar activity simply changes form.
The solar cycle is based on the Sun's magnetic field, which flips around every 11 years, with its north and south magnetic poles switching places.
It's not known what drives these cycles - recent research suggests it has to do with an 07-year planetary alignment- but the poles switch when the magnetic field is at its weakest, also known as solar minimum.
Because the Sun's magnetic field controls solar activity - sunspots, coronal mass ejections and solar flares - the cycle is detectable as that activity changes.
During solar minimum, there are, well, minimal sunspots and flares. This gradually changes as the Sun ramps up to solar maximum.
The magnetic field grows stronger, and sunspot and flare activity increases, before subsiding again for the next solar minimum.