Jump to main content

Counting Sunspots on an Image of the Sun

Summary

Areas of Science
Difficulty
 
Time Required
Short (2-5 days)
Credits
*Note: For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.

If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk (*) at the end of the title.

Abstract

Make a pinhole projector (see Measuring the Diameter of the Sun and the Moon). Use the pinhole to project an image of the Sun onto a wall or a piece of paper. Do you notice any dark spots on the projected image? Trace the projected image and count the dark spots. Use your pinhole projector to make images of the Sun at the same time of day for several consecutive days. How does the pattern of spots change? Can you use your data to figure out how fast the Sun rotates? Sunspot activity rises and falls with an 11-year cycle. At this writing (summer, 2006), sunspot activity is at a low point in the cycle, so you may not see any sunspots. You can use satellite images of the Sun for this project instead. See the Science Buddies project Using the Solar & Heliospheric Observatory Satellite (SOHO) to Determine the Rotation of the Sun. For another sunspot-related project, see: Sunspot Cycles. Important Safety Note: Never, ever look directly at the Sun. You can permanently damage your eyes.

icon scientific method

Ask an Expert

Do you have specific questions about your science project? Our team of volunteer scientists can help. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions, offer guidance, and help you troubleshoot.

Careers

If you like this project, you might enjoy exploring these related careers:

Career Profile
Astronomers think big! They want to understand the entire universe—the nature of the Sun, Moon, planets, stars, galaxies, and everything in between. An astronomer's work can be pure science—gathering and analyzing data from instruments and creating theories about the nature of cosmic objects—or the work can be applied to practical problems in space flight and navigation, or satellite communications. Read more
Career Profile
Lights, camera, action! It takes more than actors to put an exciting motion picture movie together. It takes film and video editors and cutting-edge computer technology to make an exciting movie that people want to see. From the many thousands of minutes of film and video, the editor has to choose the best shots to tell a cohesive and compelling story. In addition to having an artistic bent, the film and video editor must relish working with complicated computer equipment. If you would like to… Read more

News Feed on This Topic

 
, ,

Cite This Page

General citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.

MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "Counting Sunspots on an Image of the Sun." Science Buddies, 28 July 2017, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Astro_p027/astronomy/counting-sunspots-on-an-image-of-the-sun. Accessed 3 Oct. 2022.

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2017, July 28). Counting Sunspots on an Image of the Sun. Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Astro_p027/astronomy/counting-sunspots-on-an-image-of-the-sun


Last edit date: 2017-07-28
Top
Free science fair projects.