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Established 16/3/2000

Sunspots - cool areas on the surface of the sun

Sunspots

SPOTS ON THE SURFACE OF THE SUN:

This image of the sun was taken by simply projecting the sun's image onto a sheet of paper using binoculars, in this case 20x80s, mounted on a tripod. This is a safe and easy way to capture this fascinating phenomenon on film. But remember, NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN through binoculars, a telescope, or a camera with a telephoto lens - you may cause yourself permanent blindness.

When the image was formed and focused, I got in close using a 50mm lens and took the above picture. You may, if you wish, make a drawing of the sunspots which you see. The 11-year cycle of the sun is climaxing in 2001, and sunspot activity like that captured above can trigger solar eruptions which can send matter to Earth and cause geomagnetic storms - Aurora Borealis.

For more information, including up-to-date information about what sunspots are currently visible, visit the website www.spaceweather.com. Here is another interesting website which includes a "history" section which talks about ancient cultures and their understanding of sunspots. Read about the 11-year cycle of the sun on this web page.

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All information and photos, except where otherwise stated, copyright, © Anthony Murphy, 1999-2015
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