Sunspots and Space Weather

Name: _________________________________       Date: _____________

Can events that happen over 90 million miles away really have an effect on Earth? Although sunspots look like tiny dots on the solar surface, they can have a huge effect on "space weather." You'll find out more in this Planet Diary activity.

  1. Start at NASA's Sunspots page. What are sunspots?
  2. Why do sunspots appear dark?
  3. Go to the Sunspot Cycle Primer and play the video. Pause the video as you answer the questions. How long does the sunspot cycle normally last?
  4. What's the difference between solar minimum and solar maximum?
  5. How are sunspots related to the Sun's magnetic fields?
  6. How are sunspots related to solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs)?
  7. What causes the Sun's magnetic fields to flip?
  8. What's today's space weather like? Visit the Space Weather Bureau. Look at the sidebar on the left for info about today's solar wind, solar flares, and sunspots. Imagine you're a space weather reporter. What's your report for today?