Attached are test images of the Sun taken with a telescope and a digital camera. A very special solar filter was used. The only safe way to take pictures of the Sun is with a filter designed to do so.
Sunspots are massive magnetic storms on the Sun. They form from a complex process that twists and contorts the Sun’s magnetic field. They are 9000 degrees F, but are cooler than the brighter 10,000 degree areas surrounding them. Thus they appear black, but if sunspots could be viewed away from the rest of the Sun they would look blindingly bright. Sunspot numbers vary from minimum to maximum in an 11-year cycle. The next sunspot maximum is predicted to be May of 2013. Studies have found that Earth’s temperature varies slightly with the sunspot cycle.
Galileo was among the first to observe sunspots with a telescope. He was also one of the first to begin to understand what he was seeing on the sun’s surface. Others before him mistakenly thought they were seeing planets passing in front of the Sun. Galileo observed that sunspots moved from day to day. This proved the Sun rotated in about 25 days. He also noted that sunspots grow, their shapes evolve and then they fade away, proving the Sun was not static and that it was dynamic and changing.
The full solar disk image shows a scattering of sunspots on the Sun’s surface and a large group of sunspots just below center. This large group of sunspots is cataloged as AR 11476. AR stands for ‘Active Region’.
A close up of AR11476 is also attached. The close up shows the darker central sunspot areas called umbra and the lighter outer regions called penumbra. The Earth is about the same size as the large umbra just below center in this picture.
Image Technical details:
Acquired at the Bowman Observatory May 12, 2012
80mm refractor telescope at 1200mm FL
Baader solar filter
Canon T2ia camera
Data acquisition using EOS Movie Record software
Processed in RegiStax and PhotoshopCS5