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The Sun

The Sun rests in the center of our solar system and the very world that we live in is the product of it. The Sun provides us with light that nourishes the plants and organisms on earth and thus starting the food chain in with all living things are apart of; it goes without question that if the Sun was not there we wouldn’t be here. Because of the supreme importance of this star we have invested our time and money to understand what goes on in the Sun and what keys it might hold for future science. It is important to know three main abnormal events that occur on the Sun: Sunspots, Solar flares and Coronal Mass Ejections. These events have interacted with us here on Earth. These events follow what is called the “Solar Cycle”. A Solar cycle is the cycle of solar minimums and maximums, the maximum level of the cycle is the “Active Sun” area, this is where the most sunspots, solar flares and Coronal Mass Ejections are observed.

A sunspot is a relatively cool area on the Sun. First studied in detail by Galileo this was the first evident to prove that the Sun wasn’t a perfect creation but was something that was ever changing. They are darker and cooler in relation to their surrounding but if they were to be isolated they would be bright and hot, roughly about 5000 Kelvin. Sunspots show an umbra, or dark center, surrounded by a grayish penumbra (1). A typical sunspot measures about 10000 km in diameter roughly the size of the Earth (1). Sunspots occur in clusters anywhere from tens to hundreds of them, the most occurring during solar maximum. They are formed because of the Suns magnetism. The magnetic field in a typical sunspot is about 1000 times greater than the field in neighboring, undisturbed photospheric regions (1). It is believed that the magnetic field around the sunspots serve to shield the convention flow of the hot gas in the Sun which in turn makes them cooler then the rest of the Sun (1)

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