Students witnessed the largest sunspot in almost a quarter-century on Oct. 23 while viewing a rare partial solar eclipse through powerful telescopes from the Physics, Astronomy and Geology Department.
“It’s the largest [sunspot] I’ve ever seen,” said said City College astronomy coordinator and professor of astronomy Liam McDaid.
The phenomonal sunspot named AR12192 is the largest in 24 years and created solar flares intense enough to interfere with global communication systems according to the Space Weather Prediction Center.
Sunspots are areas on the sun where intense magnetic fields are moving. Sunspot AR12192 is about 80,000 miles wide. The sunspot is 10 times the width of Earth and just shy of the width of Jupiter. It appears through a telescope as a light region with a dark spot near the center.
“You can see shifting magnetic fields that appear as lines when looking through the h-alpha [telescope],” said McDaid.
Students initially gathered at the Mohr Hall courtyard to see a partial solar eclipse. The moon blocked an entire 40 percent of the sun during the eclipse at about 3:27 p.m.
“It doesn’t really happen that often,” student Philo Kwan said about the eclipse.
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