The sun is beaming with energy and staring directly into it is a bad idea. But if you have a solar filter, you can look at the sun and what you will find is a gigantic sunspot moving on the surface of the Sun. The Kodaikanal Solar Observatory on the southern tip of the Palani Hills has captured the sunspot AR3190 in its full glory.

Sunspots, according to Nasa, sunspots are areas that appear dark on the surface of the Sun. The electrically charged gases generate areas of powerful magnetic forces. “The Sun’s gases are constantly moving, which tangles, stretches, and twists the magnetic fields. This motion creates a lot of activity on the Sun’s surface, called solar activity,” Nasa says.

Sunspots are dark because they are cooler than other parts of the Sun’s surface and the Sun is currently heading towards a solar maximum in its 11-year cycle. The cycle is set to peak in 2025.

The Kodaikanal observatory looked at the Sun and captured the sunspots in action on January 17 and 19. Astronomers at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru, which operates the observatory, used a 40 cm telescope to witness the phenomenon that has amazed stargazers from across the world.

The sunspots were also captured from Merak in Ladakh, the site of the proposed National Large Solar Telescope. Researchers said that the number, as well as the size of sunspots, follow an eleven-year cycle, and AR3190 is the largest recorded sunspot in the current cycle on the surface of the star in our Solar System.


India today