Sunspots Navigation Bar

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Mapping Sunspots and Active Areas

Use the Java applet below to measure areas of sunspots in the white light images, and x-ray active regions in each white light or x-ray image by "painting" in the areas with the mouse. You'll be looking for the characteristic dark spots of sunspot activity in the white light images. In the x-ray images, you'll be looking for the areas of particularly intense, or bright, x-ray emissions.

Rememember, you are looking to discover what relationship there might be between areas of sunspot activity and areas of x-ray emission activity. By comparing the colored area in each type of picture, and then looking at the graphs of those areas, you might be able to make some guesses about what is going on.

We think you'll find that looking for a line or simple curve on a plot is an easier way to see possible relationships than trying to compare the two columns of numbers. Scientists love graphs, because they are a way to look at complex data in a visual way.

What will you discover? Write down your analysis of the data, and compare your conclusions with others.


To launch the Java applet please click the button below. (You'll need a java-compatible browser, we recommend Netscape 4.0 or higher)

Now that you have explored the patterns in the sun's activity in a past solar maximum, you might be interested to know that another solar maximum is predicted for the year 2000. You may be interested in attempting to view sunspots for yourself. In case you missed it, visit "Safely Viewing Sunspots" in the history section.

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Observatory  1998 The Exploratorium.