To discover various characteristics of the Sun,
you'll need to observe it. Your "eyes" will be the
SOHO spacecraft, currently circling the Sun about 1,000,000 miles
With SOHO's 12 specialized scientific instruments, we can explore
everything from the Sun's glorious halo or "corona", to the
violent magnetic storms on its surface, to the sound waves which
help us understand the mysteries of the Sun's deep interior.
Using daily pictures collected by the SOHO
spacecraft, you are going to observe and record information
about the currently visible sunspot groups. What do you think
we can learn from watching sunspots?
What You'll Need |
What to Do |
Getting the Images |
For the Teacher |
Exploring Other Images
Sunspot Recording Worksheet.
Print out and make enough copies
for each day of your observations.
Print these out. If you can, copy the grids onto transparency paper.
An image of the Sun every day, for about 2 weeks.
You will pick these up from the web (see below).
Your images will look something like this, only bigger.
(The sunspot groups show up as black and white blotches):
What you are going to do:
You are going to observe and track the movement of sunspots
(actually, magnetically "active regions") across the Sun's visible disk.
- Every day, using the web, print out a copy of the internet solar
image (we tell you how below).
If you don't have a printer, sketch the image and
sunspot groups you see. (If you have to sketch,
try placing the latitude/longitude
grid directly over the image on your screen to find exactly where
to sketch your spots. Be careful to always have the image straight
up and down.)
- For each of the major sunspots groups, record on your
Sunspot Recording Worksheet:
- Collect images every day for 10-14 days.
After you've collected your data, go on to the other activities.
Getting the Images:
The images you will be getting are called
either intensitygrams or
They are retrieved every 96 minutes by the
SOHO Daily Images
- Before going any further, read
About the Images.
Don't cheat and skip this part!
When you look at the image lists, use the images labeled:
SOHO MDI, Magnetogram, longi. comp., Full Disk
SOHO MDI, Intensitygram, Full Disk
If there is more than one magnetogram or intensitygram available,
pick the one done earliest in the day (there will be a time given
There are many interesting sites which provide solar images.
The following are particularly good collections of images from
various places around the Earth and in space: