This image shows three groups of large sunspots visible on the Sun on May 20, 2012. Concentrations of magnetic flux generated within the Sun can locally impede the transfer of energy from deeper regions of the Sun to the surface, and such regions form sunspots that can have temperatures 3000 degrees K cooler than the remainder of the surface of the Sun, (called the photosphere). When a solar filter is used to filter out all but 1/1000th of 1% of the sunlight, the sunspot regions appear dark. In reality, the sunspots are extremely hot and bright - - they just appear dark by comparison to the surface of the Sun. This image shows three groups of sunspots, and each of the large sunspots is larger than the planet Earth.
The Sun is surrounded by a bright glowing corona, but the light from the photosphere is so much brighter by comparison, that we cannot see the corona except during a total eclipse.
The image was taken from a location near Reno, Nevada where I observed the annular solar eclipse on May 20, 2012. I used a Cannon EOS Digital Rebel SLR camera and a Cannon EF 70-300mm zoom lens with a Baader solar film filter.
August 31, 2003
Image by Sid Leach
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