YSI 1995 / Reporting Groups / Sunspots

Students: April Dennis, Danielle McDonald, and Raven Wynn


OBSERVATION OF SUNSPOTS

For the past week our group has been teamed up with Mr. Dreiser to study sunspots. In this paper we will take you through our learning experience and explain to you all we can about our topic.

First lets get you aquatinted with the sun. What is the sun? Yes, we know the sun is yellow and gives off heat but what does it do? The sun is a hot, huge ball of gas with fiery fusion reactions in its core. It is also the closest star to Earth. It is 280,000 times closer to Earth than any other star. The sun is five billion years old, and is twenty-seven million degrees F at the core. It has a total of three surface areas, two that can only be seen during an eclipse, ( the temporary disappearance of the sun ) and one that we see every day that is the disc, called the photosphere. The sun is an average star, and can be seen from every point on the Earth. It takes approximately eight minutes for light to reach Earth from the sun, and gives off all types of electromagnetic light, radiation, visible, infrared, gamma, and ultraviolet rays. The sun also contains sunspots that can be seen every twenty-seven days.

These sunspots leads us to our experiment. Our first goal was to get a clear and sunny day, which was August 6, 1995. On this day , we set up the 10 inch telescope so that its shadow could be seen in the dome. Next we focused the sunŐs image on the telescope, remembering not to look up at the sun ( doing this can cause you to be blind ). Then we got a white sheet of paper and held it under the telescopeŐs eye piece. Doing this gave us a clear image of the sun. After getting this image we began to look for sunspots ( a dark and cool area on the sunŐs photosphere ). On this day we were able to see three sunspots. On August 7, 1995 we were able to see three more sunspots that moved slightly. On August 8 and 9 we were able to see no sunspots. Our theory for not seeing these sunspots is the sun was rotating and we believe they were behind the sun. After finding these sunspots the group decided to calculate the size of the sunspots. To calculate the sunspots they were compared to the Earth. This equation was :

	sunspot image size  =   actual size of the sunspot
   -------------------     ----------------------------
    Sun image size             actual size of the Sun
From this project we learned of sunspots in general. We learned that they are cooler than the sun that is why they appear to be darker. Sunspots donŐt always appear and when they do, they donŐt always appear at the same position. When the sun is shining you canŐt see the sunspots because they donŐt shine down like little spots. Only when you do close observation can you see them. Sunspots are like magnetic fields, when iron fillings are put near a simple bar magnet on earth, the fillings show a pattern the same thing happens to the sun, this pattern is called a sunspot.

Danielle's part

Hello, my name is Danielle McDonald, and I will be presenting the board that my reporting group did. Raven Wynn, one of the members is not here to help, but you will meet her at the 40-inch telescope. The title of our presentation is called Observation of Sunspots. In our presentation, we speak on the sun, because you canŐt understand what sunspots are unless you get the full picture about the sun.

Can anybody tell me what the sun is ? Okay, all of those are true. But there are more facts. The sun is a hot, huge ball of gas with fiery fusion reactions at the core. It is the closest star to Earth, actually it is 280,000 times closer than any other star. The sun is five billion years old, and is 27 million degrees F at the core. It has a total of three surface areas, two that can only be seen during an eclipse , and one called the photosphere, which called a disc and what we see every day. The sun is an average star, and can be seen anywhere. It takes 8 minutes for light to reach Earth from the sun, and gives off all types electromagnetic light. Can you name some type of light that the sun gives off ? The sun also contains sunspots, which we focused our projects and presentations on.

Now we will focus on sunspots. Does anyone think they know what a sunspot is? A sunspot is a spot that is darker than the sun because it is a cooler region than the sun. Sunspots are like iron fillings near a magnet. The sunspots start to form a pattern that happens on the sun. So you can call the sun a giant magnet. Sunspots rotate around the surface of the sun every twenty-seven days, and can seem to appear bunchy in the corners of the sun. Does anyone want to take a guess? Well, sunspots seem to appear bunched up because of our perspective. From the number 1-7 and 21-28, they seem to be right together , but its because we are so far away. We are 93 million miles away form the sun, so they tend to look mushed together. Are there any questions?

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