By H.E. Landsberg (ed.), J. Van Mieghem (ed.)
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Extra resources for Advances in Geophysics, Vol. 8
Sunspots tend to group together into compact associations numbering from a single or, more frequentJy, a few disconnected spots to dozens of individual spots. Areas of the individual spots, including penumbral areas, raiigc up to about 1O1O km2, although those with arras in exeebs of lo9 km2, which are visible to the unaided eye, are rare. A large spot group may cover 2 x 10’”km2. Areas are often given in millionths of the area of the visible solar hemisphere. 04 x lo6 kinz. Thus, a spot group of substantial size may be 5000 to 6000 millionths of the solar hemisphere.
2 year period. A long-period cycle of about 90 years is suggested by visual inspection of a plot of R versus time as in Fig. 12. However, the observing history of sunspots is not sufficiently long to verify this suggestion. During years of relatively low values of R,,, there is a suggestion of alternate relatively high and low cycles. For example, the eight cycles between 1858 and 1912 each show a successive alternation in amplitude. This effect, if real, disappears during years of relatively large R,,, .
I n size and brightness t,hey vary greatly. Flares exceeding 3000 millionths of the visible hemisphere are rare, and the smallest extend down to the limit of present resolution. Their brightness in Ha ranges from about a fourfold increase over the normal disc brightness (about twice plage brightness) to about a fifteenfold increase (three times the brightness of the continuum adjacent to Ha). INDICES OF SOLAR ACTIVITY 39 The shapes of solar flares are usually highly irregular, and frequently areas that are well removed from each other and not, otherwise visually connected brighten simultaneously.