Journal Highlights

Preserving a 45-Year Record of Sunspots

Research Spotlight—

Maps reveal how the Sun’s magnetic field evolves through solar cycles.

In 1964, the late solar researcher Patrick McIntosh launched an ambitious effort to track sunspots—relatively cool, dark blotches on the Sun caused by disturbances in the star’s magnetic field. He traced sunspots and other solar surface features from daily photographs, creating a map of the full Sun approximately every 27 days. This led to important advances in the prediction of solar flares and helped to reveal the large-scale organization of the Sun’s magnetic field. Now scientists are working to preserve and digitize McIntosh’s project, a uniquely consistent record of solar activity over 45 years....more

-- Emily Underwood, Freelance Writer,