Sunspots Make an Appearance - KMSP-TV

Sunspots Make an Appearance

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Sunspots make an appearance over the skies of the U. K. Now, honestly these sunspots show their face everywhere, but this phenomenal sunset picture has surfaced showing that they are large enough to be visible from earth by the eyes… in this case, a sensitive camera.

So what are these spots? A sunspot is a region of the sun that is experiencing intense magnetic activity which inhibits convection and forms areas of reduced surface temperature. They usually show up in pairs of two because they will have opposite polarity, but this isn't always the case. The temperatures of these are roughly 2500 to 3500 degrees Celsius. As warm as these temperatures seem, they are quite a bit cooler than the rest of the sun which is roughly 5500 degrees Celsius. This difference in temperature gives them their darker color and makes them visible to earth. These spots are also HUGE. They look small compared to the sun, but some of the larger sunspots can be hundreds of times larger than the earth.

Just like everything else in the solar system, these spots go through cycles. They consistently go through about an 11 year cycle which coincides with the activity level of the sun transitioning from more to less active every 11 years.

 

If you want to view some of these spots, don't just go outside and look up and stare into the sun. Trust me, you will not like the results. You will want some eye protection like photosensitive binoculars or special lenses on a camera or sunglasses. If you want to know how many sunspots there are, you can always view this sunspot viewer like the one above at spaceweather.com which shows the current spots on the sun and even gives them a number if they are large enough to be tracked by scientists.

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