Sunday, January 6th 2013, 1:51 PM EST
By overlaying and fading between a surface image (in filtered white light) of the Sun to an image that reveals the magnetic structures (taken at almost the same time), we can reveal the magnetic nature of sunspots (Jan. 4, 2013). The initial still image shows quite a few sunspots scattered across the Sun's surface.
These are the sites of intense magnetic fields emerging from the Sun's interior. The black and white magnetogram image reveals the sunspots to be clusters of magnetic activity, with the paired black and white areas (dipoles) indicating intense areas of north and south magnetic polarity. Note the correlation of the two kinds of images. These magnetically active regions are often the sources of solar storms. Both the white light continuum images and the magnetogram images were taken by the Michelson Doppler Imager (MDI) instrument on SOHO.
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