Cold spots constantly appear in the Sun’s atmosphere. Their number is constantly changing. What does it depend on and how can it affect the living nature of the Earth?
The sun is a dense hot ball made up mostly of hydrogen and helium. All this mass of gases is held together by the gravitational force, thanks to which the thermonuclear fusion reaction takes place in the interior of the star. As a result of this reaction, a huge amount of energy is released, which heats the outer layers of the star to several thousand degrees and makes them glow.
However, from time to time, dark areas in the form of spots are formed on the Sun. Their temperature is about 1500 degrees lower than that of the rest of the star’s atmosphere. These areas are called sunspots and their behavior tells a lot about the activity of our star.
Our star manages to maintain such high temperatures in its atmosphere due to the constant mixing (convection) of plasma flows – the hotter inner layers rise, and the cooled outer layers descend. But in some places, a strong magnetic field interferes with this process, as a result of which sunspots are formed in which convection does not occur.
The number of sunspots is associated with the so-called Wolf number. Knowing the number of sunspots, you can calculate the Wolf number, which will show the current activity of the star. This is possible due to the persistent relationship between the number of sunspots and the phase of the star’s cycle of activity. The phase of the solar activity cycle, in turn, affects life on Earth.
So, with an increase in solar activity on Earth, strong magnetic storms can occur, leading to problems in telecommunications and energy networks. In addition, the high activity of our star can exacerbate the symptoms of certain diseases. Also, with an active Sun, people get tired faster and become less attentive.