Sunspots are areas on the sun’s surface that are cooler and darker than other parts of the sun and represent areas with strong resonance magnetic activity (Macdonald 43). The sun rotates on its axis and it is easy to identify how the sun rotates by observing the motion pictures of sunspots. While observing the sun for a number of days, one should expect the sunspots to move and this is enough evidence that the sun rotates. In the observation assignment, I plan to track and deduce the sun’s rate of rotation by picking up two sunspots and tracking their motion on the surface of the sun. At the end of the observation, I intend to have images with moving sunspots. In addition, I will refer to some images come from the SOHO website. Since the sunspots are located on the surface of the sun, they move when the sun rotates; thus, it is possible to determine the sun’s rate and direction of rotation using sunspots.
The sun, unlike other astronomical bodies, is made up of gas and plasma. Because it is not a solid, different parts of the sun rotate at different rates with the areas around the equator rotating once every 25 days and areas around the poles rotating once every 36 days (Macdonald 101). SOHO has enabled the observation of sun’s rotation using the sunspots for many years. SOHO, which stands for the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, is a project by the European Space Agency and NASA to study the characteristics of the sun. SOHO is made up of a set of instruments that maintain an orbit around the sun at a distance of 1 million miles from the earth. SOHO has provided extensive information about the sun and particularly sunspots and how they can be used to track the sun’s rotation (SOHO 1).
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...ee to the 13 degrees I got earlier. In total, the sunspots move about 14 degrees every day. In order to make the full rotation of 360 degrees, it would take about 25 days (360/14).
In summary, the sunspots moved a total of 90 degrees for the seven observation days. While my observations went on smoothly for the first four days, the rest of the days were mostly cloudy and I had to rely on the sunspots images from SOHO website. If I would do it differently, I would make my observations for about 14 days in order to get more accurate results. Besides, the small telescope that I used could not capture high quality images and given a second chance, I would wish to use a better telescope with better images. From the observations of the sunspots, it is evident that the sun rotates from west to east at rate of 14 degrees per day, as evident by the movement of the sunspots.
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