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        Sunspots on the Move

        The sunspot videos in this media gallery were captured by telescopes on two spacecrafts that orbit the Sun, the European Space Agency/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). These specialized instruments captured the emergence, growth, and evolution of sunspots by collecting light in wavelengths that the human eye cannot see and then converting that information into a range of colorized images. These images give scientists access to detailed information about the Sun’s magnetic field, sunspots, solar flares, 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.

        Sunspots on the Move

        The video shows a group of sunspots evolving as they appear to move slowly across the surface of the Sun, as it turns on its axis. The image was captured in ultraviolet light on August 22, 2011, by the SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory) spacecraft, which orbits between the Sun and Earth.

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        Growing Sunspots

        This video tracks the movement of the solar rotation for two weeks as a sunspot group emerges and evolves across the surface of the Sun. The image was captured in ultraviolet light by the SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory) spacecraft from February 7–21, 2011.

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        Traveling Sunspots

        This video shows an active region (a strong magnetic field) on the Sun and the movement of a sunspot group from February 7–20, 2011. The images were captured by the HMI (Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager) instrument on the SOHO (ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) spacecraft.

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