In these days, it is possible to observe a huge sunspot, AR3310, which is even visible to the naked eye due to its size. Normally, seeing such a phenomenon on the surface of the Sun requires a powerful telescope. But the latest sunspot has become so large that it can be seen without a telescope, although it requires special eye protection.
Birth of AR3310
South Korean astronomer Bum-Suk Yeom created the cover photo, which shows the relative scale of AR3310 with Earth to give an idea of how enormous this particular sunspot is. AR3310 is currently on the edge of the visible solar disk, about to rotate out of view. So one must act quickly if they want to observe this astronomical spectacle.
Since a sunspot is the product of strong magnetic fields, they usually mark the points on the Sun’s surface that produce solar flares, also known as coronal mass ejections or CMEs. These massive eruptions of solar plasma can even reach Earth and interfere with electronics, as well as produce stunning auroras.
The sunspot AR3310 is a huge sunspot visible to the naked eye that is about four times larger than Earth. It is caused by particularly strong and intertwined magnetic fields. The magnetic fields are so powerful that they actually prevent some of the heat from nuclear fusion inside the Sun from reaching its outer atmosphere, creating a cool spot that appears dark to observers.
How to view the sunspot
If you want to see AR3310, you need accurate and safe solar glasses. They are the same type of glasses normally used to watch a solar eclipse and are designed for safe solar observation. Regular sunglasses won’t do! If you already have a pair of advanced solar glasses from a recent solar eclipse, make sure the solar filter on the glasses is not scratched. Otherwise, they need to be reacquired.
Another way to observe the Sun is with a dedicated solar viewing binocular that has built-in solar filters. These not only provide a safe way to view the Sun but also offer an enlarged view of the entire solar disk.