Falling for the Sun: Heart-Shaped Sunspot Thrills Astrophotographer

Sunspot AR2529 by Chumack
Astrophotographer John Chumack. captured the heart-shaped sunspot from his backyard Observatory in Dayton, Ohio on April 12, 2016. (Image credit: John Chumack | www.galacticimages.com )

You can’t help falling in love with the recent sunspot AR2529 and that's exactly what happened to astrophotographer John Chumack.

Chumack captured the heart-shaped sunspot from his backyard Observatory in Dayton, Ohio on April 12.

"I caught sunspot AR2529 flaring at lunch time in this close-up view," he wrote in an email to Space.com. "[It] looks like a dachshund dog face with folded over ears or a heart." 

The sunspot was large enough to hold two Earthsas it crossed the face of the sun in April, making it a great target for amateur astronomers to safely observe.

Warning: NEVER look directly at or photograph the sun unless you have the proper protective equipment. Serious and permanent eye damage can result.

Sunspots are dark patches on the surface of the sun that are a bit cooler than surrounding areas. As the term "active region" suggests, sunspots serve as launchpads for solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) — huge eruptions that send clouds of solar plasma racing into space at millions of miles per hour.

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Contributing Writer and Producer

Nina Sen is a freelance writer and producer who covered night sky photography and astronomy for Space.com. She began writing and producing content for Space.com in 2011 with a focus on story and image production, as well as amazing space photos captured by NASA telescopes and other missions. Her work also includes coverage of amazing images by astrophotographers that showcase the night sky's beauty.