Our nearest star has a bad case of acne these days. I was testing out new camera control software at Dogstar today and the sun makes a convenient target to do daytime alignment and taking test exposures (required disclaimer: NEVER LOOK AT OR PHOTOGRAPH THE SUN WITHOUT A PROPER FILTER!). If you are a regular Dogstar blog reader you know that the sun goes through a 11 year cycle when the number of sunspots waxes and wanes due to the changing magnetic fields produced by the great ball of hot fusion plasma. We should be at the peak of the current cycle but the sun has not be performing as expected. This is likely due to longer term, little known cycles of much longer periods (google “Maunder minimum” too see what happened during the last such puny solar maximum). The large pimple you see in the image below is known as spot AR1897 and is large enough to spew out some major solar flares in the coming days. Check out Spaceweather.com for up to data solar data.