Surface of the Sun

The visible surface of the Sun, the photosphere, is the layer listed below which the sun becomes opaque to clearly shows light. Ever-changing, it is not a hard surface.

You are watching: Sunspots appear dark because they are cooler than the surrounding solar surface.


The movie opens up with a full-disk watch of the sun in clearly shows wavelengths. Then the filter are applied to small pie-shaped wedges of the Sun, starting with 170nm (pink), then 160nm (green), 33.5nm (blue), 30.4nm (orange), 21.1nm (violet), 19.3nm (bronze), 17.1nm (gold), 13.1nm (aqua) and 9.4nm (green). Us let the collection of filters sweep approximately the solar disk and also then zoom and rotate the camera to rotate with the filters together the solar image is rotated underneath.DETAILS»

CREDIT: NASA’s Goddard an are Flight center Scientific visualization Studio


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Sunspots appear as dark job in the solar photosphere. These are locations where strong magnetic field has emerged from below the solar surface. The strong magnetic ar suppresses the relax of warmth into the photosphere make sunspots cooler than their surroundings. Due to the fact that they are lot cooler than the surrounding photosphere sunspots show up darker even though they room still plenty of 1000s of levels Celsius.


An active an ar on the sunlight — an area of intense and complicated magnetic areas — has actually rotated right into view on the sun and seems to be farming rather conveniently in this video clip captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory between July 5-11, 2017. Such sunspots space a typical occurrence top top the sun, yet are less constant as we head toward solar minimum, which is the period of low solar task during its regular about 11-year cycle. This sunspot is the first to appear after the sun was spotless for 2 days, and also it is the just sunspot group at this moment. Like freckles on the confront of the sun, they show up to be little features, however size is relative: The dark core of this sunspot is actually larger than Earth.

Credit: NASA’s Goddard an are Flight Center/SDO/Joy Ng, producerMusic credit: ‘The Answer’ through Laurent Levesque from Killer Tracks


NASA Scientist C. Alex Young discusses current sunspot activity during Live Shot.

Credit: NASA’s Goddard space Flight Center


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Sometimes magnetic field in the solar setting holds increase solar plasma from the chromosphere right into the solar corona. The filaments are held up in a kind-of magnetic hammock. The fairly cool filament material appears dark as soon as observed versus the glowing solar disk. Filaments have the right to stretch far throughout the sunlight measuring 100s of thousands of kilometers. The equivalent of 10 or much more Earths lined up in a row.


On respectable 31, 2012 a lengthy filament the solar product that had actually been hovering in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona, erupted the end into room at 4:36 p.m. EDT. The coronal massive ejection, or CME, traveled far from the sunlight at over 900 miles per second. This movie shows the ejection indigenous a range of philosophies as captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), NASA’s Solar Terrestrial relations Observatory (STEREO), and the share ESA/NASA Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).

Credits: NASA’s Goddard space Flight Center/SDO/STEREO & joint ESA/NASA Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO)


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Prominences room really simply the exact same thing as filaments just viewed native a various perspective. Filament room seen top top the solar disk but filament are really high increase in the solar atmosphere, means above the surface. So as soon as a filament is on the leaf of the sunlight the filament sticks the end with room instead that the solar surface behind it. This provides the filament an extremely bright compared to the dark (cold) background of space. We call a filament regarded this method a prominence. They have the right to be straightforward looped shaped object or an extremely irregular v a complex structure.


Over a six-hour duration on April 21, 2015, NASA’s Solar Dyanmics Observatory (SDO) observed a wing-like prominence eruption. SDO views the sunlight in assorted wavelengths of the extreme ultraviolet, including 171 (shown in gold) and also 304 (shown in orange) angstroms.

Credits: NASA’s Goddard space Flight Center/SDO


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Coronal holes are areas on the sunlight that show up dark when observed in extreme Ultraviolet and also x-ray light. Castle are areas where the magnetic field on the solar surface opens up up into room making it simpler for coronal product to escape. Due to the fact that these areas have much less corona, they have actually less product to emit light and also so show up dark compared to the remainder of the corona. Coronal holes space where the high-speed solar wind originates. They occur mostly near the north and also south poles but they can occur at other locations on the solar disk.


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Scientists analyzed sunspot photos from a trio that observatories -- consisting of the large Bear Solar Observatory, which captured this clip -- to make the first-ever monitorings of a solar tide traveling up right into the sun’s environment from a sunspot.Credits: BBSO/Zhao et al

For the first time, researchers have tracked a specific kind of solar wave as it brushed up upward native the sun’s surface ar through that atmosphere, including to our expertise of how solar material travels throughout the sun.Tracking solar waves choose this gives a novel device for researchers to research the atmosphere of the sun. The imagery that the journey likewise confirms currently ideas, helping to nail down the presence of a mechanism that moves energy – and therefore heat – right into the sun’s mysteriously-hot upper atmosphere, called the corona.

Though scientists have long suspected the the tide they spot in the sun’s surface, referred to as the photosphere, are connected to those checked out in the shortest reaches that the sun’s atmosphere, dubbed the chromosphere, this new analysis is the an initial time that researchers have managed to actually watch the wave take trip up through the assorted layers into the sun’s atmosphere.

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When material is heated to high temperatures, the releases energy in the form of light. The type, or wavelength, of the light is figured out by what the material is, and also its temperature. That method different wavelength from the sun have the right to be mapped to different temperatures of solar material. Due to the fact that we know exactly how the sun’s temperature alters throughout the layers of that atmosphere, we can then order these wavelengths follow to their height over the surface – and also essentially clock solar waves as they take trip upwards.


Scientists provided data from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, NASA’s Interface an ar Imaging Spectrograph, and also the huge Bear Solar Observatory to track a solar tide as it channeled upwards native the sun’s surface into the atmosphere.Credits: Zhao et al/NASA/SDO/IRIS/BBSO

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