Is the Zeeman effect observed in sunspots?

Measurement of the light from sunspots, obtained by masking off the light from parts of the Sun not in the sunspot, indicate significant Zeeman splitting of the spectral lines (see the adjacent figure, the right panel, and this animation).

What is the Zeeman effect and what does it tell us about sunspots?

Astronomers can measure the magnetic field on the sun, including the sunspots, thanks to the Zeeman effect, the splitting of a spectral line emitted by an atom into two or more separate lines, due to the presence of a magnetic field. The larger the magnetic field, the wider the separation of the split lines.

Why do sunspots appear black to an observer here on Earth?

A typical spot consists of a dark region called the umbra, surrounded by a lighter region known as the penumbra. The sunspots appear relatively dark because the surrounding surface of the Sun (the photosphere) is about 10,000 degrees F., while the umbra is about 6,300 degrees F.

What effect does the Zeeman effect have on spectral lines from the Sun?

This causes spectral transition lines to also be split into more than one line, with the amount of splitting proportional to the strength of the magnetic field. This is called the Zeeman Effect , and the corresponding increase in the number of spectral lines is called Zeeman splitting.

Are sunspots fixed to the solar surface?

Like storms on Earth, sunspots are not fixed in position, but they drift slowly compared with the Sun’s rotation. By recording the apparent motions of the sunspots as the turning Sun carried them across its disk (Figure 2).

Do sunspots have a strong magnetic field?

Sunspots are the most notable structure on the solar surface with strong magnetic fields. The field is generally strongest in a dark area (umbra), but sometimes stronger fields are found in non-dark regions such as a penumbra and a light bridge.

What are sunspots caused by?

Sunspots are caused by disturbances in the Sun’s magnetic field welling up to the photosphere, the Sun’s visible “surface”. The powerful magnetic fields in the vicinity of sunspots produce active regions on the Sun, which in turn frequently spawn disturbances such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs).

What causes sunspots convection?

Most of the sun’s surface is covered by convection cells–roiling and boiling gases that bring heat up to the sun’s surface from the furnace in its core via convection. However, the intense magnetism of sunspots inhibits convection and the associated heat transport to them.

Do sunspots appear when Sun is active or inactive?

Although sunspots are cooler areas on the solar surface, the Sun is actually hotter when sunspots appear and cooler when they are absent. Scientists believe that a long period of solar inactivity may correspond with colder temperatures on Earth. From 1645 to 1715, astronomers observed very little solar activity.

Are sunspots hot or cold?

Sunspots are areas that appear dark on the surface of the Sun. They appear dark because they are cooler than other parts of the Sun’s surface. The temperature of a sunspot is still very hot though—around 6,500 degrees Fahrenheit!

Why are sunspots called Active Regions?

Why does Zeeman effect occur?

The Zeeman effect is the splitting of the spectral lines of an atom in the presence of a strong magnetic field. The effect is due to the distortion of the electron orbitals because of the magnetic field. The atomic energy levels, the transitions between these levels are influenced by a magnetic field.