Images of the Sun in 2012 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 number and size of sunspots are increasing now as the Sun moves towards the maximum in solar activity which is expected to peak next year (predicted to be in the spring, but you never can tell with the Sun).

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.

We have had a very unusual spring and summer with much more cloud than normal.  This combined with my being very busy with other matters has resulted in my neglecting the Sun so far this year.  However, a large region appeared in early July, visible to the filter-protected eye, and I managed to get some pictures during a short break in the overcast skies on 12 July.

The Nephelae, the nymphs of the clouds, were kind to me again three days later and sent me a few holes through which I was able to photograph the Sun.  There have been significant changes in the three days since I last saw the Sun.

Either the clouds returned or there were very few sunspots until early August when several small groups appeared.  These pictures were taken on the 10th.

Activity on the Sun is continuing to increase.  There are lots of spots but they are all quite small. But some of the groups are very extensive.

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