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Will an Ice Age Happen Again?

Between 1645 and 1714, Europe experienced a Little Ice Age. Astronomers who worry about The Day After Tomorrow happening again are studying the sun. While a new ice age could be caused by dropping ocean currents, triggered by an ice melt caused by global warming, the sun may be involved as well.

There was almost no sunspot activity during that period, meaning the sun was cooler and didn't heat up the Earth as much as usual. Astronomers are looking at other stars, to see if they go through the same kind of sunspot cycles. Sun activity usually goes through an 11 year cycle, although it's been unusually active during the past few years.

But there's a problem: Astronomer Jason Wright says, "?Our study shows that the vast majority of stars?[are] not sun-like at all?To date, we've found no star that is [like our sun]."

"The fact is, we still don't understand what's going on in our sun, how magnetic fields generate the 11-year solar cycle, or what caused the [Little Ice Age]," says astronomer Geoffrey Marcy. "In particular, we don't know how often [this happens]. It could be tomorrow." Or the day after?

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