Sun  ID: 4892

Faculae and Sunspots at Solar Maximum and Solar Minimum

The solar 'constant', the amount of energy received from the Sun during the course of the 11 year solar cycle, is not strictly constant. There is small variation during the course of the cycle due to the change in solar activity.

Sunspots form in regions with stronger magnetic fields on the photosphere and appear dark against the hotter solar surface, even though they are still quite hot. Faculae are extended regions that tend to form around sunspots and are hotter, and brighter, than the photosphere. Faculae are barely visible in solar imagery taken in visible light, but are more obvious in specific wavelengths (such as 1700 Angstroms used here) as the brighter speckled regions around many of the sunspots.

The hotter and more extended area of the faculae add more to the solar energy output than is taken away by the cooler and smaller sunspots, yielding a slight net increase in the solar luminosity around solar maximum.

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Visualization Credits

Tom Bridgman (Global Science and Technology, Inc.): Lead Visualizer
Joy Ng (USRA): Lead Producer
Laurence Schuler (ADNET Systems, Inc.): Technical Support
Ian Jones (ADNET Systems, Inc.): Technical Support
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Data Used:
SDO/HMI/Continuum also referred to as: SDO Continuum
SDO/AIA/1700 Filter also referred to as: AIA 1700
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

SVS >> Faculae
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Sun-earth Interactions >> Solar Activity >> Sunspots
SVS >> Hyperwall
SVS >> Solar Dynamics Observatory
SVS >> Heliophysics
NASA Science >> Sun
SVS >> Visible Light Imaging
SVS >> Far Ultraviolet Imaging
SVS >> FUV Imaging
SVS >> Solar Minimum
SVS >> Solar Maximum

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version