Images courtesy SOHO (ESA & NASA). Animation by Windows to the Universe staff (Randy Russell).
Rotating Sun with Sunspots
This animation shows a large sunspot (officially dubbed sunspot number
720) moving across the face of the Sun as the Sun rotates. The animation
weeks during January 2005. The Sun rotates one full turn every 25 days at
the equator, but it rotates slower at the poles, with one rotation every 36 days. Roughly 12 hours elapse per frame of
The images were captured by the Michelson Doppler Imager (MDI) instrument
(Solar & Heliospheric
Observatory) spacecraft. MDI images are captured in the red portion of the
light spectrum, around a wavelength of 6,768 Angstroms. This part of
the spectrum is quite good for observing sunspots. The view is comparable to
what you would see if you could look at the Sun without damaging your eyes.
NEVER LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN without taking appropriate safety precautions!
(Note: If you cannot see the animation
you may need to download the latest QuickTime player.)
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