Sunspots, July 6, 2009. Normally a modest sized sunspot group like this one wouldn't get special attention, but the Sun has been historically quiet this past year, and sunspots of any sort are noteworthy.
The Sun has an activity cycle of roughly eleven years. We are currently in the nonactive part of the cycle, and the Sun has been free of sunspots for most of the past year.This sunspot group has the designation 1024, and its magnetic orientation shows that it belongs to Cycle 24, the new solar cycle that has been very slow getting started.
Several Earths could fit inside the area of the largest sunspot. The sunspot group is over 100,000 km from end to end. This was the biggest, most active sunspot in over two years.
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