New Delhi: The sun is an enigmatic entity that has long since intrigued scientists and understanding the largest star in our solar system has been one of their priorities.
We have heard and read about sunspots in the past – temporary phenomena on the photosphere of the sun that appear as dark spots (black blemishes) compared with surrounding regions.
They may look small, but shouldn't be underestimated, because sunspots are actually larger than the Earth.
A video released by NASA on Wednesday shows a new sunspot caught by the space agency's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).
According to NASA, the spot seems to be growing at a fast pace. Such sunspots are a common occurrence on the sun, but are less frequent as we head toward solar minimum, which is the period of low solar activity during its regular approximately 11-year cycle.
This sunspot is the first to appear after the sun was spotless for two days, and it is the only sunspot group at this moment.
The video caption says that these spots will not become plentiful again until at least 2020, since sunspots are abundant when solar activity is high.
Because of the drop in solar activity, the sun was speckle-free for two days before this swirling sunspot appeared. The video was captured last week between about July 4 and July 11, as per NASA.
Watch the video below:
(Video courtesy: NASA Goddard)