What are Sunspots?

Sunspots Explained!

Sunspots are dark spots that appear on the surface of the Sun. They are cooler than the surrounding areas and are caused by the Sun’s magnetic fields. Sunspots are our window into the Sun’s complicated magnetic interior, and they have fascinated solar observers for hundreds of years. The frequency and intensity of sunspots visible on the surface indicate the level of solar activity during the 11-year solar cycle that is driven by the Sun’s magnetic field.

Surveying sunspots is the most basic way we study how solar activity rises and falls over time, and it’s the basis of how we track the solar cycle. At its most active, called solar maximum, the Sun is freckled with sunspots and its magnetic poles reverse.

Sunspots correspond with the Sun’s natural 11-year cycle, in which the Sun shifts from relatively calm to stormy ¹. Because sunspots are associated with increased solar activity, space weather forecasters track these features to help predict solar storms that can impact Earth.

Solar flares are another phenomenon associated with sunspots. The magnetic field lines near sunspots often tangle, cross, and reorganize. This can cause a sudden release of energy in the form of a solar flare ⁵. Solar flares can cause radio blackouts, power outages, and other disruptions on Earth.

In conclusion, sunspots are an important part of understanding the solar activity. They provide insight into how the Sun’s magnetic fields work and how they affect our planet. By studying sunspots, we can better predict when solar storms will occur and take steps to protect ourselves from their effects.

I hope this article helps you! Let me know if you have any other questions.