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THE SUN  

Why We Study the Sun  
The Big Questions  
Magnetism - The Key  

SOLAR STRUCTURE  

The Interior  
The Photosphere  
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The Transition Region  
The Corona  
The Solar Wind  
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Serafino Melange Grey Underlayer Tailor Long Shallow Tom Top Sleeved SOLAR FEATURES  

Photospheric Features  
Chromospheric Features  
Coronal Features  
Solar Wind Features  

THE SUN IN ACTION  

The Sunspot Cycle  
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Coronal Mass Ejections  
Surface and Interior Flows
Helioseismology  

THE MSFC SOLAR GROUP  

The People  
Their Papers  
Their Presentations  

RESEARCH AREAS  

Flare Mechanisms  
3D Magnetic Fields  
The Solar Dynamo  
Solar Cycle Prediction  
Sunspot Database  
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Solar Wind Dynamics  

PREVIOUS PROJECTS  

GOES SXI Instrument  
MSFC Magnetograph  
MSSTA  
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Skylab  
Solar Maximum Mission  
SpaceLab 2  
TRACE  
Ulysses  
Yohkoh  

CURRENT PROJECTS  

CLASP  
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Hinode  
RHESSI  
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SOHO  

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The Sun in Time  
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Solar Information for Teachers  
Eclipses and the Sun  

FUTURE PROJECTS  

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Solar Probe Plus  
Interstellar Probe  

VIDEOS  

Solar Probe Plus  
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The Photosphere

Click on image for larger version.

Tailor Tom Melange Top Underlayer Shallow Serafino Long Grey Sleeved 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 Bag Bucket White Handbag Handle Single Missguided CqwE8xtan, the bright faculae, and Originals Trefoil Grey Medium shirt Heather T Adidas Print Zdwxf4qdB. We can also measure the flow of material in the photosphere using the Doppler effect. These measurements reveal additional features such as supergranules 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 GONG solar telescope network. The movie illustrates the rotation of the Sun as well as the evolution of the Sun's magnetic features - including sunspots.

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Tailor Long Sleeved Grey Tom Top Shallow Serafino Underlayer Melange Web Links
Sportswear Black Air Trainers Max white Nike 97 7xOwfdfa - 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
Grey Long Tailor Underlayer Sleeved Melange Serafino Tom Shallow Top High-Energy Astrophysics - MSFC's Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE)
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+ Visit Solar Terrestrial Probes Program
+ Visit Living With a Star Program
Author: Dr. David H. Hathaway, dave.hathaway @ comcast.net
Melange Serafino Shallow Grey Long Sleeved Underlayer Tailor Tom Top 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: 90% cotton, 10% viscose

Fabric: Jersey

Care instructions: Machine wash at 40°C, do not tumble dry

Details

Neckline: Henley

Pattern: Print

Article number: TO222O0JC-C11

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