The Solar System

What causes sunspots?
Answered by Science Channel
  • Science Channel

    Science Channel

  1. The sun is a ball of extremely hot gases that are constantly shifting and flowing. The gases on the interior of the sun and those on the outside move separately and at different rates, and, in addition, the outside gases at the equator of the sun move faster than those at the solar poles. All of this uneven movement of the gases at different rates causes the sun's magnetic fields to be distorted and twisted, similar to how your sheets get all bunched up and wrinkled if you move around a lot while you sleep. The twisted magnetic fields have so much power in them that they're able to block the hot gases from rising to the sun's surface, resulting in a sunspot, a dark spot on the sun, which is cooler and darker than the surrounding gases.

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