Will the dark areas of high sunspot activity
visible in white light images correspond to the bright areas of active regions
visible in the x-ray images? Scientists are still uncertain about this relationship.
According to Fischer, "Even thought it's known that the area of sunspots
group is roughly proportional to the amount of x-rays coming out of an active
region, no one, as far as I know, has actually compared them."
You can help figure out this relationship,
by gathering and comparing real data about sunspots and solar x-ray activity
Like the great astronomer Galileo, you
will measure the size of sunspots. But unlike Galileo you won't have to
view the sun directly. You'll compare visible light images and x-ray images
taken on the same day from a satellite orbiting high above the earth. These
images are taken from Yohkoh, a Japanese telescope launched in cooperation
with NASA for the specific purpose of observing the sun. The name of the
telescope, Yohkoh, means "sunbeam" in Japanese.
You'll have a series of images taken from
one month during a solar maximum. You'll color in the active sunspot or
x-ray areas using the mouse. The areas you color in will be recorded automatically
in a table, and in an evolving graph of sunspot areas vs. x-ray areas.