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Last Post 10/15/2012 10:15 AM by  KD Leka
What color are sunspots?
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10/14/2012 9:24 PM
    are sunspots green, yellow, black ect....
    Tags: sunspots, temperature, surface, color, Color Mapping, False Color, color-coding

    Terry Kucera

    Basic Member

    Basic Member

    10/15/2012 6:33 AM

    Sunspots look dark, but really that is just that they are darker than the rest of the Sun which is _so_ bright even bright things look dark by comparison.

    Sunspots themselves are actually quite bright. They are cooler and thus a bit redder in color than the rest of the Sun's surface, but they still give off a wide range of colors so that on their own I think they would still look pretty white.



    KD Leka

    Basic Member

    Basic Member

    10/15/2012 10:15 AM

    Hi; one thing you may see is that when solar scientists show pictures of the Sun, the pictures may be in different colors (for example, take a look at or or We use different computer programs and different colors sometimes as 'shorthand' to easily convey some information about the data being shown, such as what kind of light is being used for the image. That sounds weird ("kinds of light?") but our eyes can't see some of the light that the instruments are designed to see (such as X-rays), so the color-coding in the images is pretty fake but useful to convey information. For example, the color-coding of an image like you can see at give some information about the temperature of the structures in the corona.

    That being said, Terry's answer is great - sunspots themselves just look dark because they're cooler than the nearby surface, but they are still very hot. Because they are slightly cooler (by only about 1500deg, which sounds like a lot, but compared to the 6000deg surface it's not too much!), they would appear a bit redder than the surroundings.

    Cheers, -KD

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