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The Solar Cycle, Sunspots And Weather, Why Sunspots Are Dark, Causes

Sunspots are relatively dark, temporary spots that appear on the Sun from time to time. The largest of these spots are visible to the naked eye and have been noted by Chinese astronomers since antiquity, but their first mention in Western literature is in The Starry Messenger (1610) by Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei (1564–1642). Sunspot activity—the number of spots on the Sun at any one time—varies with a period of 11–13 years. This corresponds to the period of an overall solar-activity cycle whose other features include solar flares and prominences.

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