16th April 2021

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Sunspots are relatively colder and darker spots on the Sun

A new study published in The Astrophysical Journal has shown how sunspots, which are relatively colder and darker spots on the Sun, can help us better understand living conditions on exoplanets, planets outside the solar system.

  • Since sunspots are precursors to solar flares, monitoring them can help decipher how and why they occur.
  • In young stars, super bright ones occur almost daily, while in more mature stars like our Sun, they can occur once every 1000 years.
  • A few flares can help build RNA and DNA on planets, while too many strong flares can damage the atmosphere and make the planet uninhabitable.
  • High-resolution solar data from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and the JAXA / NASA Hinode mission were used for the study.
  • The team studied the different layers of the Sun using 14 different wavelengths, including visible, ultraviolet (UV) and X rays.
  • “We wanted to know what a sunspot region would look like if we couldn’t resolve it in an image,” said Shin Toriumi, lead author of the study and a scientist at the agency’s Institute of Astronautical and Space Sciences.
  • Japanese aerospace exploration at a Liberation. “So we use the solar data as if it came from a distant star to have a better connection between solar physics and stellar physics.”
  • Putting all this data together, the team created a diagram they called Light Curves that showed how the light changed when the sunspot passed over the rotating face of the Sun.
  • It also shows what a passing sunspot would look like if it were several light years away.
  • “The Sun is our closest star.
  • By using solar observing satellites, we can resolve signatures in an area 160 km wide, ”said Vladimir Airapetian, study co-author and astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
  • “In other stars, you may only get one pixel that shows the entire surface. So we wanted to create a model to decode the activity in other stars.”
  • Studying stellar activity could also help explain the beginning of life on Earth four billion years ago. Many scientists have suggested that intense solar activity may have been a trigger.
  • “So far we have done the best scenarios, where there is only a visible sunspot,” said Toriumi. “Next, we plan to do some digital models to find out what happens if we have multiple sunspots.”
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