A stunning montage of 365 images have revealed the day by day changes on the solar surface in 2018.
The images were taken by ESA’s Proba-2 satellite.
It reveals just how quiet the sun has been.
The Sun typically follows an
The satellite is continuously monitoring the Sun, and researchers selected one image to represent each day of the year.
One way to assess the level of activity is by counting sunspots (dark spots in the images), or recording the strength of solar flares.
The most energetic flare of 2018 was recorded on 7 February, from a small region located at central latitudes in the eastern hemisphere of the Sun (to the left of the centre of the Sun in the corresponding image).
It was classed as a ‘C-8.1’ in the classification system that divides solar flares according to their strength.
The smallest are A, followed by B, C, M and X, with each letter representing a ten-fold increase in energy output such that an X-class flare is 100 times stronger than a C-class flare.
M and X flares, along with coronal mass ejections that launch vast clouds of solar matter out into space, can create such powerful bursts of radiation that