Sun Spots

Sunspots are caused by magnetic storms on the sun's surface and can last for a week or two. These storms create areas on the sun that are cooler than the area around them. These cooler areas look darker than the rest of the sun because they don't give off as much light.

These cool areas result in huge explosions called solar flares. Solar flares release heat, radiation, and charged particles out into space. The number of sunspots on the sun varies over time. Scientists have been keeping track of sunspot activity for over 200 years and believe that sunspot activity influences weather on Earth.

Check out this image of the Sun. Do you see the darker areas? These are sunspots. Now click through the slideshow of images taken over one week. Notice how the size and the position of the sunspots change. Even the number of visible spots changes.

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