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Starspots - Windows to the Universe

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The Winter 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist includes a variety of educational resources, ranging from astronomy to glaciers. Check out the other publications and classroom materials in our online store.
Astronomers used a computer and data about the star AB Doradus to make this picture. This is what the star might look like. Can you see some starspots on AB Doradus?
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy A. Cameron, M. Jardine and K. Wood, University of St Andrews.

Starspots

Did you know that the Sun has spots? They are called sunspots. Other stars have spots too. They are called starspots.

Both sunspots and starspots are cool spots (well, colder than the bright areas around them). They are also darker than the areas around them. Can you pick out any starspots on the star in the picture?

Astronomers have found starspots on stars like AB Doradus and EK Draconis. If you could name a star, what would you name it?

Some of the starspots that astronomers have found are HUGE! They are 10,000 times bigger than the largest sunspots seen on the Sun.

Last modified September 6, 2005 by Jennifer Bergman.

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The Fall 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist, which includes articles on student research into building design for earthquakes and a classroom lab on the composition of the Earth’s ancient atmosphere, is available in our online store.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF