The Sun in motion

An animation of solar sketches
By | Published: April 5, 2012 | Last updated on May 18, 2023

From July 23 to September 20, 1999, I sketched the Sun for 60 straight days. I undertook this project to earn the Astronomical League’s certificate for its Sunspotter’s program.Later, I combined the 60 sketches into a simple animation. When you view it, you’ll see sunspots I observed on the Sun’s disk moving from day to day. That movement shows our star’s rotation.You’ll also see that I’m no artist. I captured sunspot groups that appeared similar over the course of several days and, in many cases, made them look quite different. For that, I apologize. I also did not use a grid overlay, which would have kept the spots from jumping up and down a bit, as they do here.And where, you might ask, was I living where the Sun shone every day for two months? I was in El Paso, Texas, which residents nicknamed “The Sun City,” and for good reason. The Sun shines an average of 302 days per year there.