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        Giant Sunspots

        The sunspot images in this media gallery were captured by telescopes on two satellites that orbit the Sun: the European Space Agency ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). These specialized instruments captured the sunspots on the Sun by collecting light in wavelengths that the human eye can and cannot see and then converting the information into a range of colorized images. Sunspots form in active regions, areas that have an especially strong magnetic field, and can be the source of some of the Sun’s most turbulent activity. The images received from the satellites give scientists access to information on the Sun’s internal structure, magnetic field, sunspots, and other solar processes. 

        To view the Background Essay and Teaching Tips for this media gallery, go to Support Materials below. This resource was developed through WGBH’s Bringing the Universe to America’s Classrooms project, in collaboration with NASA. Click here for the full collection of resources.

        Giant Sunspots

        This image captures a massive sunspot that showed itself on the Sun’s surface on January 1, 2014, and was captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). An image of Earth was added to the bottom of the sunspot image to show a size comparison between the giant sunspot and Earth.

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        Comparing Sunspots

        These enormous sunspot groups were captured by two different satellites orbiting the Sun. The image on the left was captured on January 17, 2005, by the ESA/NASA's Solar Heliospheric Observatory, and the image on the right was captured on January 7, 2014, by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.

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