SUNSPOT Essay Example

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Sunspots are regions are darker spots that often appear on the solar surface. Compared to the rest of the surrounding atmosphere, they are much cooler in temperature. Although the origin of sunspots is quite unknown, they are often created through intense magnetic activity that often erupts into intensive energetic solar storms that produce streams of charged molecules into space. Scientists propose that the underlying rotation of the sun is a key cause of the magnetic fields and ropes on the sun. Scientists also points out that the gaseous sphere of the sun tends to rotate rapidly at its equator compared when at the poles, and so the sun’s magnetic field became more twisted and disrupted with time. The distorted and twisted field lines ultimately come through the photosphere, depicting their presence as sunspots1.

The largest sunspot ever observed measured about 50,000km in diameter, making it large enough to become visible to the naked eyes. Sunspots are usually found in groups, with as many as 100 groups. They also develop and persist for a certain period ranging from hours to various months, and they often carried out on the sun’s surface during rotation1.


Source: Jenkins (2013)

Chinese astronomers were the first people to discover sunspot around 800 B.C. it is believed that the ancient Chinese people used them as a way of foretelling important events in the land. They often kept records of sunspots for decades of years. John Worcester, an English monk, became the first man to make a drawing of the sunspot in 1128. Soon after that, several astronomers with the aid of a telescope, made a number of observations of sunspots. In 1843, Samuel Schwabe, a German astronomer, discovered the rise and of the fall of annual sunspot counts referred to as the sunspot cycle. In 1854, Louis Fizeau and Léon Foucault, French physicists took the first photo of both the sunspots that appeared on the earth’s surface. In early 1852, four renown astronomers discovered a similarity between the period that occurred during a sunspot cycle and that of changes of geomagnetic activity that occurred on earth leading to Sun-Earth connections known as ‘‘space weather’’. Sunspot studies play a vital role in the generating a total solar irradiance and in determine the existing variations of sunspot properties in the solar cycle phase or the latitude2. With the changing technology, scientists have generated a new technique known as time-distance helioseismology. This method allows one to peer deep into the sun’s most interior circle, through acoustic waves to help catch sunspots locate during their early stage of development and also giving as much warning as possible of about two days prior their appearance. The method also detects sunspots located 60,000km underneath the sun’s surface. The acoustic waves are created inside the sun’s surface through raging motions of gases and plasma in a stable motion. In the near surface, small-scale convection cells produce sound waves that often travel to the interior circle of the sun whereby they are drawn back to the surface depicting sunspots2. This is often accomplished with the aid of Solar Dynamics Observatory satellites, which often carries both the Magnetic Imager and the Helioseismic.


Jenkins, Jamey L. 2013. Observing the Sun a Pocket Field Guide. Dordrecht: Springer.

Liu, Charles. 2013. The Handy Astronomy Answer Book. Chicago: Visible Ink Press.

Jenkins, Jamey L. 2013. Observing the Sun A Pocket Field Guide. Dordrecht: Springer.

Liu, Charles. 2013. The Handy Astronomy Answer Book. Chicago: Visible Ink Press.