Astronomy Picture of the Day

A Sunspot in the New Solar Cycle

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A Sunspot in the New Solar Cycle


A new cycle has begun on our Sun.

Over the past year, the Sun's
magnetic field has reset and now a new
11 year period is beginning.

Pictured above in a
specific color of light emitted by
hydrogen is sunspot 10982, one of the first sunspots of the new solar cycle.

The two dark lines visible just above and to either side of the bright sunspot are cool
filaments held aloft
by the Sun's magnetic field.

Hot and cold regions are shown as regions of relative light and dark,

A solar cycle
is caused by the changing magnetic field, and varies from
solar maximum, when
coronal mass ejection, and
flare phenomena are most frequent,
to solar minimum, when such activity is relatively infrequent.

Solar minimums occurred in 1996 and 2007, while the last
solar maximum occurred in 2001.

Of course,
solar eclipse is
mostly for penguins.

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