Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Today in sunspots

Felton Davis of the Second Avenue Star Watchers shared this today...
Crystal-clear blue sky this afternoon, for an unusually large sunspot left of center, but the attempt to angle my aging telescope almost straight up was very difficult. Joanne stayed the course through about 45 minutes of agonizing adjustments, and then the sun promptly disappeared behind the clouds. The sunspot was approximately 8,000 miles in diameter, or a hundredth of the diameter of the sun.
... and a view of the sunspot...
... and the size of the sunspot next to Earth for a little comparison...
According to NASA: "The sun ... is roughly 109 times the diameter of the Earth — about one million Earths could fit inside the sun." 

And a word of warning from Felton if you want to start sunspot spotting: "Do not stare at the sun for any length of time, and do not point a telescope at it unless you have a very thick filter covering the tube."


  1. OK, so that means that our whole solar system could be like one tiny atom in the fingernail of some other giant being. This is nuts! That means that one tiny atom in my fingernail could be...

  2. Awesome!

    Grieve - your comment reminded me of the classic Powers of Ten film:

  3. Thanks for this scoop Felton. This is very cool.

  4. If there was an all-out nuclear war, the combined explosive power of the bombs could jar the Earth loose from its standard orbit, undermine what astronomers call its "conservation of momentum," and send it spiraling down into the Sun, where it would be completely pulverized. Nothing would remain, but creatures from other planets might eventually discover the Voyager I spacecraft, that left our solar system behind in 2012, and listen to the archived music stored on it, including "Dark was the Night," a guitar solo by Blind Willie Johnson, along with "Johnny B Good," by Chuck Berry, and the Cavatina from Beethoven's Quartet in Bb, Opus 130. You can listen to Johnson's recording at

  5. Even the sun gets the occasional zit.

  6. Now I've got Julian Cope stuck in my head.


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