[ môn′dər, män′- ]
A period of unusually low sunspot activity lasting from approximately 1645 to 1715, as noted in records kept by contemporary observers. The Maunder minimum corresponds roughly to the middle and coldest portion of the climatic period known as the Little Ice Age, and although no definitive link has yet been proved, many scientists believe that the two phenomena are likely related. The Maunder minimum is named after its discoverer, British astronomer Edward Walter Maunder (1851-1924).
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.