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The Spring 2011 issue of The Earth Scientist is focused on modernizing seismology education. Thanks to IRIS, you can download this issue for free as a pdf. Print copies are available in our online store.
This picture show how big sunspots are. Many sunspots are as big as Earth! Earth never really gets this close to the Sun; we just put Earth in the picture to show how large sunspots are.
Click on image for full size
Original Windows to the Universe artwork by Randy Russell using images from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (sunspot image) and NASA (Earth image).

Sizes of Sunspots

Sunspots are very big structures. They might look small compared to the Sun, but remember the Sun has a diameter of 1.4 million km (870 thousand miles).

Most sunspots could swallow a planet! Many sunspots, like the ones shown in the image on this page, are as large as Earth! Most spots range in size from about 1,500 km (932 miles) to around 50,000 km (31,068 miles) in diameter. Once in a while, huge sunspots the size of Jupiter show up on the Sun's surface.

Last modified September 6, 2005 by Jennifer Bergman.

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Cool It! is the new card game from the Union of Concerned Scientists that teaches kids about the choices we have when it comes to climate change—and how policy and technology decisions made today will matter. Cool It! 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