A Sunspot This Day, 71 Years Ago!

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Sunspots have been in the game for quite a lot of years now. Back in the day, 1128 AD, John of Worcester recorded one in his chronicle. It was the 13th Day of December and old John wasn’t the only one who observed this spectacle. Even the astronomers in Songdo, Korea, witnessed a red vapour that “soared and filled the sky” from the northwest to the southwest. Guess what didn’t exist in that era? Exactly! A telescope, which implies that this sunspot was visible to the naked eye.A page from Thomas Harriot’s notebook, dated 8 December 1610, elaborates sunspot activity and includes several drawings. This is the earliest known detailed recording of solar observations in the 1600’s. Y’all thought Galileo did it again, didn’t you? Well Galileo got there too, a year later – a little too late.

But the event that stole the show occurred on 8th April, 1947, for that was the day the biggest array of sunspots was ever recorded in all history. Yes that’s right, the biggest sunspot, as huge as 330 earths put together was first recorded this day, 71 years ago at Mt. Wilson Observatory. The group of sunspots in the southern latitudes of the Sun was large enough to be observed without a telescope.

Sunspot observed on 8th April 1947. Credits: Mt. Wilson Observatory

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Sunspots are relatively cooler spots on the surface of Earth. They are roughly 1000 degrees cooler. (The sun is a deadly laser nearly 6000 degrees hot). They pop up every 11 years or so and can be easily spotted without a telescope.


Next time you catch it, be sure to wear protective eye wear and be amazed, because guys, guys, Sunspot = big deal!

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Click here for an interesting article on Supernova Explosions

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