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How big can sunspots get?

15 Apr 2018, 06:00 UTC
How big can sunspots get?
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Sunspots can get exceptionally large, reaching diameter may times larger than Earth. Image Credit: NASA
Asked by Alan Breen

In short, sunspots are characterised as dark, cooler regions where the Sun’s internal magnetic fields rise up through its surface layers. They can get exceptionally large and reach sizes many times bigger than Earth. In fact, there have been many recorded instances of sunspots reaching huge proportions. One spotted in 2014, known as Active Region 12192, was the largest seen for 24 years. It covered a region about 4 billion square kilometres (1.65 billion square miles), almost the same size as Jupiter.

Sunspots are closely associated with solar flares and coronal mass ejections, which are eruptions of material thrown from the Sun’s surface and out into space.
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