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Name: Adonis
Status: other
Grade: other
Location: NV
Country: N/A
Date: N/A


Question:
Why is so important to review the sunspots? What happens if two of these spots come together?


Replies:
Dear Adonis,

A very good question. We study the sunspots because they are a very good indicator of how active the Sun is. A large group of sunspot means that there may be other things and events going on as well, like flares and prominences. If two spots come together (it happened today! 17.December.2009) then they simply make one bigger spot.

All the best

David H. Levy


The main reason for observing sunspot activity, nowadays, is that it can interfere with power grids and sensitive equipment on board satellites. Previously, it was the fact that we did not know much about the Sun that we studied it. A hundred years ago, we did not even know that the Sun was nuclear-powered.

Sunspots appear in regions, and they can merge quite easily WITHIN their respective regions. However, there are only a few cases of regions merging. In most cases (>95%), regions do avoid each other. This is because they are magnetic. If two regions are north and south of each other, and in the same hemisphere, then there would be a rather distinct clear area between them. It is only when regions are end-on when the trailing spots of one can 'intermingle' with the leading spots of the other region, but this rarely happens. I can only think of two cases in the last 30 years.

Howard Barnes,
Solar astronomer.


Adonis

Here is an on-line article that will tell you pretty much all you need to know about sun spots. You can also pursue the subject deeper using your search engines on the Happy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunspot#Physics

Sunspots are electromagnetic (EM) storms on the surface of the sun that spew large amounts of highly energetic sub-atomic particles into space. We need to monitor sunspots because sunspots effect all things electric and our world is becoming more and more dependent on electrical systems to run our daily lives and run critical systems that we depend on. We have experienced sunspot events that break our communications links by frying satellites, communications switching nodes, and disrupting the ionosphere (which we use to propagate radio signals in the High Frequency (HF) radio spectrum of 3 MHz - 30 MHz) and by causing power surges on electrical power lines that trip circuit breakers. They also pose a danger to astronauts in space.

So we need to learn more about sunspots, perhaps how to predict them, learn more about what they are, and how to build our systems so they are protected against the EM effects of sunspots. Maybe one day in the future, you will be able to figure out a way to exploit the energy transmitted to us by sunspots.

Sincere regards,

Mike Stewart



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