How big can sunspots get?

We take a look at how big these cooler regions of our star can get

comments
Sunspots can get exceptionally large, reaching diameter may times larger than Earth. Image Credit: NASA

Sunspots can get exceptionally large, reaching diameter may times larger than Earth. Image Credit: NASA

Asked by Alan Breen

In short, sunspots are characterised as dark, cooler regions where the Sun’s internal magnetic fields rise up through its surface layers. They can get exceptionally large and reach sizes many times bigger than Earth. In fact, there have been many recorded instances of sunspots reaching huge proportions. One spotted in 2014, known as Active Region 12192, was the largest seen for 24 years. It covered a region about 4 billion square kilometres (1.65 billion square miles), almost the same size as Jupiter.

Sunspots are closely associated with solar flares and coronal mass ejections, which are eruptions of material thrown from the Sun’s surface and out into space.

Got a question for us? Send it into questions@spaceanswers.com and you could see it featured in All About Space – available every month for just £3.99. Alternatively you can subscribe here for a fraction of the price!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,