Picture of the Day: Stunning Image of a Massive Sunspot

By Rebecca J. Rosen

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NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this shot of Sunspot 1302 on September 28, 2011. The sunspot has produced multiple X-class flares over the last few days. The wispy lines are called coronal loops, strands of solar plasma that result from changes in the sun's magnetic field. Scientists believe that the Sun is entering a period of increased storms, peaking in 2013.

Image: NASA.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/10/picture-of-the-day-stunning-image-of-a-massive-sunspot/246016/