Classification of Sunspots

Sunspots vary considerably in size and structure. Typically, they consist of a black center surrounded by a lighter penumbra, but they can appear as small single spots without a penumbra, as bipolar spots with a common penumbra

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Figure 6.2. Sunspot types.

or as large bipolar groups subtending as much as 20° in solar longitude. In order to organize the spots according to their morphology, M. Waldmeir in 1938 devised what is now called the Zurich classification system. Representative appearances of each of the sunspot types in that system are shown in Figure 6.2.

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