Images of the Sun in 2011 Home

WARNING! The Sun is extremely dangerous. Looking at it with any sort of optical aid will result in instant blindness.
Look here to see how I do it.

The Sun has woken up again and there have been a number of significant spots since I last imaged the Sun.  By March it had risen above my local horizon and these are my first images of 2011.

It is a characteristic of sunspot cycles that, at the beginning of the cycle, spots appear at high latitudes and gradually move towards the equator as the cycle passes through its 11-year period, the last spots appearing near the equator.

The thumbnails below will take you to a page of pictures taken on the date given.  On those pages moving your mouse pointer over the picture of the full Sun will show you the number designations of the spots.

Sunspots and Active Regions are numbered by the American National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and started on 5th January 1972.  These numbers now exceed 10000 but often the first or the first two digits are omitted.  The designations of current sunspots can be found on the SOHO site.  A most useful archive of diagrams of the Sun showing the positions and designations of sunspots on a daily basis right back to January 1992 is available from The Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii.  This link will take you to their current page from where you can access their archives, select a given image by date or browse by month.  I find this particularly useful if I have imaged an interesting spot after some days of cloud, and I can look back and see when the spot appeared.

The 4th, 7th, and 8th of March were clear so I was able to get pictures showing the progress of the spots from day to day.  I have grouped the pictures together by object so you can see more easily how things changed.  Clicking on the thumbnail will take you to the page showing the whole-Sun pictures.  At the top of this page are links to the pages showing the individual sunspots.
The 17th of April was fairly clear so I was able to take some pictures.  There is a nice series of spots spread out across the northern hemisphere of the Sun.
The 22nd of April.  A large, new group (11195) has appeared in the southern hemisphere of the Sun together with some very small spots (11196 and 11197).
The 23rd of April.  The next day.  I've imaged group 11195 in narrow-band light as well as white light.
At the end of July and the beginning of August a series of spots moved across the Sun's disc.  I managed to obtain pictures (largely through cloud) on two consecutive days.  Here I present them side by side.
At the beginning of November an enormous sunspot group rounded the western limb of the Sun, but I was clouded out until the 13th by which time the group had almost disappeared around the eastern limb.  But there were plenty of other spots as the Sun returns to an active state.  Sadly this will likely be my last image for this year as the Sun will remain below my local horizon until February 2012.

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