Louis XIV, the longest-reigning king in French history, was known as “the Sun King” or “le Roi Soleil” due to his astonishing passion for ballet. The star at the center of our solar system was unrelated to it. But oddly enough, the sun started behaving oddly throughout Louis XIV’s reign.

Around 1645, it underwent a behavioral change. Sunspots became incredibly uncommon. No sunspots were found at all in certain years. The power of the sun waned. The Maunder Minimum, which took place during a “Little Ice Age,” was accompanied by an especially cold episode in the North Atlantic around 1650.

Things are moving in the opposite direction right now. While the energy of the sun has remained largely unchanged, the Earth is warming. The burning of fossil fuels, which releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and traps heat, is the main cause of this rise in temperature. Temperatures are predicted to increase by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius over preindustrial levels in the coming decades if CO2 emissions are not rapidly reduced. Temperature increases of more than 2 or even 3 degrees are possible in the worst-case circumstances.

Why not dull the sun? has been proposed as a contentious technological fix in recent years. One of the most contentious theories for this process, known as solar geoengineering, proposes shooting sulfur particles into the atmosphere in a manner that resembles the explosion of volcanoes. The sun’s beams would then be reflected back into space by the reflecting particles.

Due to the fact that it doesn’t address the underlying cause of climate change and the potential repercussions are not completely known, scientists and experts aren’t yet sure that even attempting it is a smart idea. There is a non-zero chance that altering the atmosphere could lead to permanent consequences we haven’t thought about and are ill-prepared for. It might also lead us to think that there is a solution to stop climate change without cutting back on carbon output. No, spoiler alert.


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