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Last Post 3/30/2017 5:03 PM by  Delores Knipp
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rickie r


3/30/2017 6:27 AM
    hi, how come there are no sunspots near the sun's north or south poles? could they be there, and we cant just see them? thank you
    Tags: sunspots, solar cycle, magnetic field, poles, magnetism

    Terry Kucera

    Basic Member

    Basic Member

    3/30/2017 7:48 AM
    Hi Rickie,
    That is a very interesting question - and gets to some very important questions that solar scientists are working on.

    If there were sun spots of any significant size we could see them - although we can't see the poles are well as other parts of the Sun, we can still see them and would be able to see sunspots.

    Sunspots are places where the Sun's magnetic field is very strong and loops back to the sun's surface, and such regions don't form near the poles. Instead, at the poles we have regions where the solar magnetic field opens out into the solar system. This has to do with the solar cycle (also known as the sunspot cycle) and how the large scale magnetic field changes over that time. We don't understand many aspects of the solar cycle, but we know it is driven by flows beneath the solar surface. Sunspots change position over the solar cycle, starting close to the solar poles and then moving closer to the solar equator as the 11-year cycle goes on. Why they don't start forming closer (or further away) from the poles we don't completely understand.


    Delores Knipp

    New Member

    New Member

    3/30/2017 5:03 PM
    Hi Rickie,

    It is sunspots at the poles. Early in each sunspot cycle spots start forming near or just equatorward of 30 degrees solar latitude. As the solar cycle progresses new spots form at lower latitudes, but usually not quite at the equator.

    Despite the fact that there are no spots at the poles, some of the leftover magnetic fields from sunspot that form at the poleward latitudes flow toward the poles in a very rhythmic fashion. You can see the rhythm of the solar cycle at . The image shows magnetic field intensity locations for just over 40 years. This flow helps to keep the magnetic field of the Sun in a cycle that cycles about every 11 years and fully repeats about every 22 years.

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