The Sun

Abigail Smits

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Sunspots

Sunspots are spots on the sun that appear darker because they are cooler in temperature. The life of a sunspot can be anywhere from an hour to as long as several months.

image source: http://www.weather.gov/images/fsd/astro/Sun_sunspot.jpg

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Prominences

Prominences are magnetic loops that hold somewhat cool and dense gas above the sun. They look like red smudges coming out from the sun in a looped shape.

image source: http://sunearthday.nasa.gov/2007/locations/ttt_prominences.php

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Solar Flares

Solar flares occur when magnetic energy that has built up in the solar atmosphere is released. When prominences touch, there are explosions that release the energy.

image source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/space/9097587/Solar-flares-everything-you-need-to-know.html

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Auroras

From the earth, we can see bands of colorful light that we call auroras. Auroras come from particles from the sun that speed out in a steady stream. When particles trapped near earth are released, there is a reaction, and oxygen and nitrogen molecules release photons of light.

image source: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/news/gallery/aurora-index.html