This new video from the Solar Dynamics Observatory shows how many sunspots develop and fade away over a period of days.
Lots of Spots
Over the past month (August 25 – September 25, 2014) the Sun has produced quite a few sunspot groups, with some of them being significantly large. Sunspots are darker, cooler areas in the Sun’s atmosphere generated by intense magnetic fields emerging from below the Sun’s surface. Most solar storms are produced in and above sunspots. Since we are near the period of solar maximum, this frequency of sunspot production is not surprising. While you watch the movie you will see how many sunspots develop and fade away over a period of days, although some will last up to several months. As Solar Cycle 24 starts to decay, larger and longer-lived sunspots may appear.