In the first days of 2014, an enormous sunspot appeared along the eastern edge of the Sun. Formally known as Active Region 1944 (or AR1944), this feature is actually composed over 60 individual sunspots. The largest of them is several times larger than planet Earth.
The Sun and Active Region 1944 as seen on 2014 Jan 07. For more information, see Sun and Sunspot. Photo ©2014 by Fred Espenak
So large is AR 1944, that it can be seen with the naked eye provided you use a solar filter to attenuate the Sun’s intense light. I’ve spotted AR 1944 with nothing more that a pair of eclipse glasses left over from a past eclipse trip. Last night (Jan. 06), I photographed the Sun setting behind some of the rugged peaks of the Chiricahua Mountains near my home in Portal, AZ. I found it fascinating to watch the Sun and AR 1944 pass behind the distant spires before disappearing from view.
AR 1944 is easily seen as the Sun sets among the rugged peaks of the Chiricahua Mountains on January 06. For more information, see Sunset with Sunspot. Photo ©2014 by Fred Espenak
In spite of being an active region on ...