When observing the Sun, the most obvious visible features are usually its sunspots, which are well defined surface areas that appear darker than their surroundings because of lower temperatures. Sunspots are regions of intense magnetic activity where convection is inhibited by strong magnetic fields, reducing energy transport from the hot interior to the surface. The magnetic field causes strong heating in the corona, forming active regions that are the source of intense solar flares and coronal mass ejections. the number of such spots varies over time generally in a 11 year cycle. Right now the spots are mostly gone for about 2 years which is highly unusual and may portend dramatic solar events to come which will affect the whole earth.