Sunspots are regions where concentrations of magnetic flux locally impede the transfer of energy from deeper regions of the Sun to the surface. Concentrations of magnetic flux can have temperatures that may be approximately 3000 degrees K cooler than the photosphere. These regions are hot and shine brightly, but in comparison to the remainder of the surface of the Sun, the regions appear dark. This image shows two groups of sunspots on the Sun. Although the sunspots appear small in comparison to the size of the Sun, the entire planet Earth could fit inside many such sunspots. The number of sunspots on the Sun varies in cycles of about 11 years.
The Sun is surrounded by a bright glowing corona; but just as the light from the photosphere makes sunspots appear dark, the light from the photosphere over whelms the corona as well and prevents us from viewing the corona. During a solar eclipse, the corona may be seen in all of its glory. In addition, solar prominences become visible as well during a total eclipse.
The image was taken from my backyard with a Takahashi FS-78 refractor mounted on a Takahashi EM-10 mount using a ToUcam Pro.
August 31, 2003
Image by Sid Leach
Complete list of images.
Description of equipment used to acquire images.
Feedback and comments should go to Sid