And now a page from our "Sunday Morning" Almanac: April 8th, 1947, 71 years ago today … a notable SUN day, even though the calendar actually said it was Tuesday.
For that was the day of the biggest array of sunspots ever recorded.
The relatively cooler surface areas we call sunspots can be HUGE -- 330 times the size of the Earth in this particular case, and big enough to have been seen from Earth WITHOUT a telescope (with the right protective goggles, of course!).
Nor are sunspots the only solar phenomena to watch out for.
Solar flares can send intense bursts of high-energy particles straight toward the Earth, potentially disrupting communications and power grids.
And as summertime approaches, let's not forget the Sun's UVA and UVB radiation, creating the risk of skin cancer for all us Earthlings.
You've heard it before, and you're going to hear it again right now: Wear sunscreen!
The sun brings us life-giving light and heat, and ably serves as our beloved "Sunday Morning" mascot. By all means enjoy it, but treat it with respect.
For more info:
- The Sun (nasa.gov)
- NASA's Total and Spectral Solar Irradiance Sensor (TSIS-1)
- Sunspots and Solar Flares (NASA Science Place)
Story produced by Cai Thomas.