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THE SUN  

Why We Study the Sun  
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Magnetism - The Key  

SOLAR STRUCTURE  

The Interior  
The Photosphere  
The Chromosphere  
The Transition Region  
The Corona  
The Solar Wind  
The Heliosphere  

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Photospheric Features  
Chromospheric Features  
Coronal Features  
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THE SUN IN ACTION  

The Sunspot Cycle  
Solar Flares  
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Coronal Mass Ejections  
Surface and Interior Flows
Helioseismology  

THE MSFC SOLAR GROUP  

The People  
Their Papers  
Their Presentations  

RESEARCH AREAS  

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Solar Cycle Prediction  
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Coronal Heating  
Solar Wind Dynamics  

PREVIOUS PROJECTS  

GOES SXI Instrument  
MSFC Magnetograph  
MSSTA  
Orbiting Solar Obs.  
Skylab  
Solar Maximum Mission  
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Ulysses  
Yohkoh  

CURRENT PROJECTS  

CLASP  
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Hinode  
RHESSI  
STEREO  
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SOHO  

OUTREACH  

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Solar Information for Teachers  
Eclipses and the Sun  

FUTURE PROJECTS  

Solar Probe  
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Solar Probe Plus  
Interstellar Probe  

VIDEOS  

Solar Probe Plus  

The Photosphere

Click on image for larger version.

The photosphere is the visible surface of the Sun that we are most familiar with. Since the Sun is a ball of gas, this is not a solid surface but is actually a layer about 100 km thick (very, very, thin compared to the 700,000 km radius of the Sun). When we look at the center of the disk of the Sun we look straight in and see somewhat hotter and brighter regions. When we look at the limb, or edge, of the solar disk we see light that has taken a slanting path through this layer and we only see through the upper, cooler and dimmer regions. This explains the "limb darkening" that appears as a darkening of the solar disk near the limb.

A number of features can be observed in the photosphere with a simple telescope (along with a good filter to reduce the intensity of sunlight to safely observable levels). These features include the dark sunspots, the bright faculae, and granules. We can also measure the flow of material in the photosphere using the Doppler effect. These measurements reveal additional features such as Raspberry Dress Dancer Sorbet Jdycharm Jersey Jdy Cloud BaxUPwXq as well as large scale flows and a pattern of waves and oscillations.


Click on image for animation.

The Sun rotates on its axis once in about 27 days. This rotation was first detected by observing the motion of sunspots in the photosphere. The Sun's rotation axis is tilted by about 7.15 degrees from the axis of the Earth's orbit so we see more of the Sun's north pole in September of each year and more of its south pole in March.

Since the Sun is a ball of gas it does not have to rotate rigidly like the solid planets and moons do. In fact, the Sun's equatorial regions rotate faster (taking about 24 days) than the polar regions (which rotate once in more than 30 days). The source of this "differential rotation" is an area of current research in solar astronomy.

A 4.3 Mb MPEG movie showing magnetic features in the photosphere over a 36 day period is available here. These data were obtained with the GONGPorter Boots Classic L'intervalle Lining nbsp;leather Ankle Black w4p8Hxqd solar telescope network. The movie illustrates the rotation of the Sun as well as the evolution of the Sun's magnetic features - including sunspots.

Web Links
NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center - Today's Space Weather Updated Every 5-minutes
NOAA's Solar Data Services - Includes Irradiance, Emissions, Sunspot Data (also Ancient), Flares, Corona, and Plage
SDO Data - Latest Images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory
National Space Weather Program - The U.S. Government and Space Weather
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+ NASA Privacy Policy and Important Notices
+ Visit Solar Terrestrial Probes Program
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T Paul Ps Fit Slim Smith shirt Print Skull Mens By Black Bw6q1 Author: Dr. David H. Hathaway, dave.hathaway @ comcast.net
Curator: Mitzi Adams, mitzi.adams @ nasa.gov
NASA Official: Dr. Renee Weber, renee.c.weber @ nasa.gov
Last Updated: August 11, 2014

Material & care

Outer fabric material: 95% cotton, 5% elastane

Fabric: Jersey

Care instructions: Machine wash at 40°C

Details

Rise: Normal

Pattern: Plain

Article number: TO182A022-Q12

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